China is seeking to develop its own aviation sector to reduce dependence on and even challenge Airbus and Boeing though analysts say it could take years or decades Despite a history of delays and problems, China’s aviation industry began making made rapid progress in the mid 2010s. China’s military began using its homegrown Y-20 heavy transport plane in July 2016. In June, 2016, the Chinese-made ARJ21 made its first commercial flight. The C919, China’s first domestically developed narrow-body passenger plane, made its maiden flight in 2017.

China is already a major assembler and parts supplier for some of the world's best-known aircraft. Airbus' A320s reach their final assembly in the northern port city of Tianjin. Half of Boeing's fleet of 12,000 airplanes includes components made in China. About 600,000 Chinese workers are employed in aerospace, about as many as in the United States.

According to estimates by Airbus and Boeing in 2017, the Chinese market will need around 6,000 new aircraft over the next few decades, making it worth a trillion dollars. China also wants to challenge the global dominance of Boeing and Airbus by ensuring part of its vast aircraft market goes to a homegrown large passenger planes like the C919 and ARJ21. China has struggled to build its own aircraft for decades. The country's leaders have dreamed of building a major jetliner ever since President Nixon landed in Beijing in a gleaming Boeing 707 Air Force One in 1972.

Airbus in China

Airbus sold its first plane in China in 1985 and has gone through great lengths to establish itself in perhaps the world’s dynamic aviation market. China ordered so many planes from Airbus that Airbus opened an Airbus assembly plant in China, the first outside of Europe.

In June 2006, it was announced that an Airbus A320 assembly plant would be built in the Binhai New Area of Tianjin. The first aircraft — Airbus's first plane assembled outside Europe — was delivered in June 2009. According to Reuters: “Airbus, owned by European consortium EADS, EAD.PA handed Dragon Aviation Leasing a A320 plane emblazoned with a bright yellow dragon that coiled around the length of the fuselage, a further sign of China's growing clout in the global aviation industry. “ Airbus aimed to produce four planes monthly by the end of 2011[Source: Kirby Chien, Reuters, Jun 23, 2009]

"China is certainly a centrepiece of our strategy," Airbus Chief Executive Tom Enders said. "We are not just selling aircraft to China, but designing aircraft, manufacturing aircraft and supporting aircraft in China," said Enders. Airbus began assembling the A320 in the port city of Tianjin near Beijing from parts made mostly in Europe. The plant in Tianjin is modeled after the airbus plant in Hamburg, Germany. It required an investment of $1.47 billion and opened in September 2008. The plant will produce 10 middle distance A319/320s by the end of 2009 and produce four planes a month by 2012. The facility is 51 percent owned by Airbus and 49 percent owned by a Chinese aviation consortium.

Boeing Versus Airbus in China

In the early 2010s, Boeing and Airbus each controlled about half the Chinese market for big planes. Since then Airbus has won more orders for planes arguably based more on political reasons than the merits of the aircraft as Boeing has been a major victim of trade friction between China and the U.S.

Boeing and Airbus are in fierce competition to get buyers in China. China and the U.S. are the largest markets for new air craft. In 2010, Airbus said it expected to sell 1,600 planes in China while Boeing estimates it will sell 2,000 aircraft.

China Aviation has been making tail sections for Boeing since 1996. In March 2011, Boeing announced a $10 billion deal with two Chinese airlines. In September 2006, Boeing finalized orders for 150 737 plans from eight Chinese carriers for $10 billion. In January 2005, Boeing announced that it had a preliminary order from China for 60 787s Dreamliners in a deal worth $7.2 billion. In August 2005, China announced it would buy 50 more 787 for $6 billion.

Airbus claims two thirds of the market for Chinese passenger aircraft In 2004, when it sold 47 planes in China. In 2005, it sold 220 and made a $9 billion deal to sell 150 Airbus aircraft, including narrow-body A320s and 24 superjumbo A320s. In November 2007, China agreed to buy 160 planes from Airbus, including 110 A320s and 50 A330s, for $14.8 billion. In August 2007, China and Airbus announced a plan to produce A320s in China. China ordered so many planes from Airbus that Airbus is opening an Airbus assembly plant in China, the first outside of Europe.

In 1996, China delayed a $4 billion aircraft deal with Boeing and ordered $1.5 billion worth of planes for Airbus. In 1997, Boeing signed a $3 billion deal with China for thirty-six 737s, five 758s, one 747, eight 777s. In an effort to win a 1,900 plane contract with China worth $124 billion Boeing upgraded China's air control system.

Chinese Airlines Snub Boeing and Makes Deal for 300 Airbus Planes in 2022

In July 2022, China’s “Big Three” state airlines agreed to buy a total of almost 300 Airbus jets, the biggest order by Chinese carriers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and a breakthrough for Europe as Boeing remains partially frozen out of China. CNBC reported: In apparently coordinated announcements, Air China and China Southern Airlines said they would each buy 96 A320neo-family jets worth $12.2 billion at list prices. China Eastern Airlines said it would buy 100 airplanes of the same type, worth $12.8 billion. Airlines typically receive substantial discounts to list prices and China Eastern said these were larger than usual.[Source: CNBC, July 1 2022]

Industry sources said Beijing broadly balances jet purchases between Europe and the United States over time, with such large deals typically held in reserve for state visits. But the Airbus deal signaled a visible step towards Beijing’s European supplier, they said. Until now, global trade and diplomatic tensions have broadly had the effect of delaying politically sensitive import decisions across the board.

Boeing reacted sharply to the announcement, unusually crediting “constructive dialog” between European governments and Beijing for the blockbuster order and urging the U.S. and Chinese governments to engage in productive discussions.

“As a top U.S. exporter with a 50-year relationship with China’s aviation industry, it is disappointing that geopolitical differences continue to constrain U.S. aircraft exports,” Boeing said in an emailed statement. “Boeing aircraft sales to China historically support tens of thousands of American jobs, and we are hopeful orders and deliveries will resume promptly.”

Boeing’s 737 Max has yet to resume commercial flights in China, even though the country joined other regulators late last year in lifting a grounding order imposed during a safety crisis. As of June, Boeing had delivered only one commercial jet to China in 2022 against 47 for Airbus. It has about 150 airplanes waiting to be delivered to China, according to some estimates.

Airbus painted the win as a purely commercial victory, saying it demonstrated “strong confidence in Airbus.” In a statement, it said the deal followed “long and extensive discussions” but did not mention any diplomatic support. One diplomatic source played down any political involvement but noted challenges in ramping up output to deliver such a large number of planes while global supply chain problems persist. The deal is subject to Chinese government approvals.

Chinese-Made Airplanes

Comac — state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China — and the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) are the main commercial plane maker in China. Comac was founded in 2008 with the specific mission of producing the country’s first commercially viable passenger jet — a goal Mao Zedong tried but failed to achieve during the 1970s. Western approval is essential for China to enter the international aviation market. China has sold planes to countries that accept its certification standards. Zimbabwe, Bolivia and Tajikistan have previously bought Chinese planes.

China produces its own jets through a consortium of Chinese companies. As of the late 2000s, China had two state aircraft makers, AVICI and AVIC II. AVIV I, parent of Xian Aircraft International Corp., developed the ARJ21. AVIC II’s Hafei Aviation Industry makes the ERJ-145 regional jet with Brazil’s Embraer. AVIV1 is planning to manufacture advanced regional jets that can be used on short routes in the less populated western provinces. Both AVIVI and AVIVII supply parts for the Airbus A380 jumbo jet and the Boeing Dreamliner.

In March 2007, Beijing approved a plan for China to build its own large commercial airliners and possibly challenge Boeing and Airbus. In May 2008, China established a consortium to make regional commercial jets. The hope was for the company to make 150-seat commercial planes and cargo planes that can carry 100 tons and jumbo jets so as to reduce China’s reliance in Boeing and Airbus. The consortium is is supported by the municipal government of Shanghai — where the ARJ21 regional jet is being built — and China’s two state aircraft makers, AVICI and AVIC II, are located.

In 2017, Beijing and Moscow announced they intend to work together this time a long-distance aircraft, which has been named C-929 by the Chinese. Capable of carrying 280 passengers on flights up to 12,000 kilometers, the C-929 would take on the latest long-haul jets offered by Airbus and Boeing — the A350 and 787 Dreamliner. The plane is to be developed by COMAC and Russia's United Aircraft Corporation (UAC). Chinese media have said development could cost between US$13 billion and US$20 billion. [Source: AFP, June 20 2017]


Comac has rolled out its first regional jet, the 90-seat ARJ21 Soaring Phoenix. Chinese officials have hailed it as a breakthrough. But experts said the ARJ21 could have a tough time competing outside China against cutting-edge models from Canada's Bombardier and Brazil's Embraer. The ARJ21-700 was unveiled in 2007 and test flown in 2008 and was initially xpected to be delivered to its first customers in late 2009.

ARJ stands for Advanced Regional Jet for the 21st Century. The ARJ21 is China’s first domestically-produced commercial jet. It carries 78-90 passengers and has a range of 2,225-3,700 kilometers (1,380- 2,294 miles). As of September 2009, Comac had received 208 orders for ARJ21 jets. Chinese aviation companies are working with McDonnell Douglas to create the plane. General Electric was the first foreign company to place orders for the plane. It also supplies parts for the plane,

The ARJ21 made its first commercial flight in June 2016 after years of delays raised questions about China’s ambitious to produce domestically-made planes. Chengdu Airlines flew the ARJ21 from its home base in Chengdu in Sichuan to Shanghai with 70 passengers on board. More than half were paying customers who were aware they were flying in a new plane, an airline spokesman told AFP. After that the plane was schedule to carry passengers on the Chengdu-Shanghai route three times a week. [Source: AFP Relax News, June 28, 2016]

According to AFP: “The inaugural flight was the culmination of a 14-year programme to make China a commercial aircraft manufacturer capable of competing with Boeing and Airbus. But the aircraft still lacks the crucial US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification that would allow it to fly in US skies, and most manufacturers do not yet view the COMAC plane as a competitive threat. Even so, the Chinese commercial aircraft market is already Asia's largest and crucial to aerospace plans over the next decades.

“Pictures of the ARJ21 inaugural flight showed a patriotic spirit among the passengers, with some waving Chinese flags and signing their names on a memorial banner, flanked by people in panda costumes. First formally approved by the government in 2002, the plane was shown to journalists five years later, when officials confidently predicted deliveries in late 2009. Chengdu Airlines finally received the aircraft from COMAC in November 2015, and it made several "demonstration" flights without passengers in January. While the debut commercial flight is a landmark for COMAC, the ARJ21's quality and reliability still have to be established to win over customer and passenger confidence. State-owned COMAC has claimed more than 270 orders for the ARJ21, mainly from domestic customers.

In 2016, Comac landed $2 billion order for ARJ21 jet. Associated Press reported: Comac signed a deal to sell up to 60 of its new regional jets to a leasing company in a deal worth up to $2.3 billion. Comac said the agreement signed with China Aircraft Leasing Group, a Hong Kong-listed company, includes a confirmed order for 30 ARJ21-700 jets and an option to buy 30 more. [Source: Associated Press, July 12, 2016]

As of 2017, Comac had delivered just ARJ21's — to Chengdu Airlines — leading analysts to question the feasibility of the Chinese regional jet. Development of the ARJ21 was delayed by nearly a decade, dogged by flawed designs for wings, wiring and computer systems, according to a 2012 Reuters investigation. The aircraft has yet to be certified by U.S. authorities. "The ARJ21 is not a functioning aircraft," said Richard Aboulafia, vice president of analysis at aviation consultancy Teal Group, who publishes widely cited global aerospace forecasts. [Source: Brenda Goh, Allison Lampert and Brad Haynes, Reuters, December 18, 2016]

C919 Aircraft

China has developed a mid-sized commercial jet — the 168-seat, twin-engine, single-aisle C919 — which it hopes will compete with the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320, top-selling planes by the world's only manufacturers of large commercial aircraft. Produced by Comac, the C919 has a range of 5,500 kilometers (3,400 miles) and had 600 orders from 23 customers as of June 2017. It costs around $50 million, less than half that of a Boeing 737 or Airbus A320. The plane has Western engines and avionics coupled with a new design. Comac has rolled out a pilot training program, expanded international staff and has strong backing from Beijing.

In September 2009, China unveiled the design for the C919 at the Hong Kong air show. In 2009, engine makers France-based Safran and U.S.-based GE signed multi-billion contacts to supply jet engines for the plane. A full-scale mockup of the C919 was displayed in November 2010 at the Airshow China in Zhuhai, a seaside city near Macao. The plane was only a model at the country's premier airshow, in Zhuhai in 2012, but COMAC said it won 50 orders for the plane at the airshow,, bringing the total to 380.

Although COMAC says the C919 will have "Chinese characteristics", it is relying on foreign technology for key parts of the project, including the engines, supplied by French-American venture CFM International. The C919 has German landing gear and an Austrian interior. One aviation analyst told Bloomberg the manufacturer’s claims that it has produced a genuinely made-in-China jet were questionable.

In his book about Chinese aviation "The Dragon Takes Flight", Derek Levine described the C919 as part of an all-out government effort to show its citizens and the world that China is a major player in advanced technology industries. The Communist party believed the “development of a large passenger aircraft would help wither emotional scars that linger in the mind of the Chinese people following the Century of Humiliation it suffered at the hands of the west”, Levine said. The C919 had been created to help China “reclaim its status as a great power by developing indigenous innovation”. The decision to make the plane is also a commercial one, with Beijing hoping to claim a stake of the lucrative aviation market from foreign companies. [Source: Tom Phillips, The Guardian, May 5, 2017]

David Pierson wrote in the Los Angeles Times, “The communist government has staked billions of dollars and national pride on the effort. The effort underscores the nation's determination to shed its reputation as a low-cost producer of cheap goods and move up the development ladder. What may surprise some Americans worried about slipping U.S. competitiveness is that some well-known U.S. companies are aiding China in its quest. Honeywell International Inc. will supply power units, on-board computing systems, wheels and brakes; Rockwell Collins Inc. will handle navigation systems; GE Aviation is building the avionics; Eaton Corp. is involved with fuel and hydraulics; and Parker Aerospace of Irvine is responsible for flight controls. Powering the aircraft will be two fuel-efficient engines built by CFM International, a company co-owned by GE and French conglomerate Safran. [Source: David Pierson, Los Angeles Times, November 13, 2010|

“China isn't content just to buy sophisticated gear for the C919; the government has required foreign suppliers to set up joint ventures with Chinese companies. That has put U.S. and European suppliers in a tough spot: Be willing to hand over advanced technology to Chinese firms that could one day be rivals or miss out on what's likely to be the biggest aviation bonanza of the next half a century. Honeywell alone has snagged contracts worth more than $11 billion for the project.”

"You're faced with either being part of it or not," Billy Lay, a Dubai-based partner at PRTM, an international consulting firm with expertise in aerospace told the Los Angeles Times. "I don't know what the alternatives are." Roger Seager, GE Aviation's vice president and general manager for China,"If they launch a commercial aviation industry, you've got to be part of it," said Seager, whose company has garnered contracts worth about $6 billion for the C919. "You can't take a pass and come back in 10 years. You've got to jump in with both feet now.... We would be remiss if we weren't trying to be part of their growth."

“The aircraft's builders are so confident, the first "9" in the jetliner's name was picked because it sounds like "forever" in Chinese,” Pierson wrote. “State-owned carriers China Airlines, China Southern and China Eastern are expected to announce orders for the C919 at Still, the C919's success is anything but assured. Japan, South Korea and Indonesia all failed in their attempts to build large jets. Repeated delays in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and recent problems with the Airbus A380's engine show that even the most experienced players can stumble. With the C919, Comac will have to master the precise integration of thousands of parts, develop a reliable maintenance network and then persuade airlines to trust the largely untested jet. Some analysts are already predicting delays in delivery. But aviation insiders warn against underestimating China's resolve.”

C919 Gets Off the Ground

The C919 made its first test flight on May 5, 2017. It took off from Shanghai’s Pudong International airport and landed back there again 80 minutes later. The maiden flight came after three years of delays and almost a decade in development. And Comac faces a daunting task of selling the jet abroad in a market dominated by Boeing and Airbus. "They will be trying to compete on price against people who are building aircraft at a much faster pace and with more experience, so there's a risk of getting bled dry," Richard Aboulafia, aerospace analyst at Virginia-based Teal Group, told Reuters. [Source: Brenda Goh and Tim Hepher, Reuters, April 25, 2017]

According to Reuters: The safety certification of the new plane could be among the biggest issues for the C919 internationally. Having a plane certified to fly commercially is tough enough even for Western jetmakers as aircraft become more complex and supply chains expand. There is still uncertainty over approvals needed for the C919 to secure a foothold beyond China, with the United States and European Union having the most influence. Although the EU has agreed to recognize some of the checks carried out by China, it is expected to insist on some of its own tests before issuing a safety certificate and is trying to understand where discrepancies between the two systems lie.

“Without Western certification, "sales of the aircraft in developed economies and many developing economies will be difficult to impossible," said Bradley Perrett, a veteran China watcher at Aviation Week. The C919's only real foreign buyer so far is leasing firm GE Capital Aviation Services, whose parent General Electric (GE.N) co-built the plane's engine with France's Safran.

China Makes the World’s Largest Amphibious Aircraft

In April 2017, China's domestically developed AG600, the world's largest amphibious aircraft, took its maiden flight in the southern Chinese city of Zhuhai, according to the official Xinhua news agency. The AG600 was designed to extinguish forest fires and carry out rescue missions at sea, Xinhua said, adding that it could also "be used to monitor and protect the ocean." [Source: Reuters, April 30, 2017]

The AG600 measures 37 meters (121 feet) in length with a wingspan of 39 meters (128 feet) and has a maximum range of 4,500 kilometers (2,800 miles). It was developed by state aircraft maker Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC). AVIC deputy general manager, Geng Rugang, said the plane was "the latest breakthrough in China's aviation industry." A plan for the development and production of the AG600 received government approval in 2009. The aircraft can collect 12 tonnes of water in 20 seconds. It has a maximum take-off weight of 53.5 tonnes, Xinhua said.

According to AFP: “At around the size of a Boeing 737, it is far larger than any other plane built for marine take off and landing, Xinhua quoted AVIC’s deputy general manager Geng Ruguang as saying. However, its wingspan is considerably smaller than that of the H-4 Hercules, known as the Spruce Goose, which was designed in the 1940s to carry Allied troops into battle. It is regarded as by far the largest seaplane ever built although it only ever made one flight, in 1947. [Source: AFP, July 25, 2016]

“The Chinese plane, which is targeted at the domestic market, will be “very useful in developing and exploiting marine resources,” the article said, adding that it could be used for “environmental monitoring, resource detection and transportation”. The seaplane's maiden flight comes amid China's increasing assertiveness to its territorial claims in the disputed South China Sea where it is building airfields and deploying military equipment, rattling nerves in the Asia-Pacific region and the United States. The AG600 could potentially extend the Asian giant’s ability to conduct a variety of operations in the South China Sea, where it has built a series of artificial islands featuring air strips, among other infrastructure with the potential for either civilian or military use.

China and Ukraine to Build the Largest Plane in the World

In 2016, Ukraine's Antonov Company and the Aerospace Industry Corporation of China agreed to recommence the production of the AN-225 Mriya. According to Business Insider: “Only one AN-225 was ever completed, and it entered service in 1988. A second Mriya airframe was partially completed before the fall of the Soviet Union. The Chinese-Ukrainian agreement calls for the completion of the second AN-225 by Antonov and its delivery to AICC. The agreement also calls for the commencement of series production of the AN-225 in China under license from Antonov. [Source: Benjamin Zhang,Business Insider, September 1, 2016]

“A relic of the Soviet space program, the AN-225 was designed as a platform to carry the Buran space shuttle. Following the cancellation of the Soviet space program, both the completed and the uncompleted AN-225s sat idle for a decade. In the early 2000s, the completed Mriya was refurbished and returned to service as a commercial heavy lifter.

The AN-225 holds 240 world records including the record for the heaviest cargo ever carried by a plane — 253 tons. According to Antonov, the AN-225 can carry a 200-ton load nearly 2,500 miles. The gargantuan heavy lifter is powered by six Ivchenko-Progress turbo-fan engines each producing more than 51,000 pounds of thrust.

Small Plane Industry in China

Brazil-based Embraer SA and Canada-based Bombardier are the main foreign suppliers of small commercial planes in China. According to Reuters: Embraer has made the most progress among foreign planemakers with regional airlines in China, delivering 91 aircraft of 123 firm orders through September 2016— about twice Bombardier's tally. However, Chinese order books for both companies are dwarfed by the ARJ21, which has racked up more than 400 orders since the program was launched in 2002. Embraer produces aircraft in China for several of China’s airlines through a joint venture with Harbin Aircraft. [Source: Brenda Goh, Allison Lampert and Brad Haynes, Reuters, December 18, 2016]

In 2016, Reuters reported: New rules governing Chinese airline startups are fueling hopes at Embraer SA and Bombardier Inc and other regional jet makers for a spike in orders,but local competition and doubts about size restrictions still loom as major obstacles. The new policy is aimed at encouraging fledgling carriers to boost domestic flights serving secondary markets in China rather than focusing exclusively on big cities. Provisions include scaling back access to major hubs and a requirement that new regional carriers operate at least 25 smaller city-hopper jets before graduating to bigger aircraft, according to three industry sources familiar with the policy. That could translate into Chinese demand for more than 250 new regional jets over two years. [Source: Brenda Goh, Allison Lampert and Brad Haynes, Reuters, December 18, 2016]

“China is seen as anxious to prevent carriers from using niche markets as a back door to the main airline business by grabbing licenses to set up small regional or cargo airlines and then quickly defecting to the more lucrative big-city segment, dominated by Airbus and Boeing. On paper, that should boost demand for regional jets including China's ARJ21. The support for regional aviation in China should also encourage foreign market leaders such as Bombardier and Embraer, according to Yang Yang, a director at COMAC's Shanghai Aircraft Design Research Institute.

In July 2012, Wichita-based Hawker Beechcraft—one of the lynchpins of the U.S. aviation industry—sold its business jet and general aviation operations to Beijing-based Superior Aviation, a Chinese firm owned by Chinese industrialist Shenzong Cheng and his wife Qin Wang, for $1.79 billion after the plane company filed for bankruptcy in May 2012. Aviation is one of the few remaining strongholds of American manufacturing. [Source: Associated Press, July 15, 2012]

Wichita plane makers build more than half of all general aviation aircraft delivered globally each year. But the 2008-2012 recession was hard on the industry, and Chinese firms are showing an interest in some beleaguered companies. Cessna Aircraft Co. has said it foresees China becoming one of the top 10 countries for business jet ownership by 2025. In March 2012 Cessna signed a deal with a Chinese manufacturer for the final assembly, sales and customer support for the Cessna Caravan in China for the Chinese market. A Chinese firm also bought Cirrus Aircraft last year.

Small Foreign Plane Makers Follow the Auto Industry Model in China

In 2014, Reuters reported: “For plane makers from Cessna to Embraer, the business jet market in Greater China offers the prospect of rampant growth. Deliveries could top 2,400 over the next 20 years, worth more than $65 billion and eight times the current fleet, according to Canadian aircraft maker Bombardier — a fraction of the $257 billion expected in sales in North America over the same period, but still a major growth opportunity. [Source: Fang Yan and Matthew Miller, Reuters, June 10, 2014]

“Drawing aircraft makers to China fits with Beijing's plans to make the country a major manufacturing base for aircraft production, from small aircraft to fully fledged commercial planes. In the auto industry, China, unlike Brazil or India, requires foreign automakers who want to manufacture in the country to team up with local partners, who share half the proceeds and use the joint venture (JV) production to bolster their own earnings. Foreign aircraft makers are also required to team up with a local partner to make jets in the country. "Nearly every global small plane maker, except Dassault Falcon and Gulfstream, has had discussions about a China JV," an executive at state-backed China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co Ltd (CAIGA) with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. "Some are making progress while others are still looking around. Like the automakers 20 years ago, no-one wants to be left behind."

“For William Schultz, responsible for developing Textron Inc's aviation business in China including the Cessna brand, it was a rational choice to team up with a well-connected partner like CAIGA, China Aviation Industry Co's (AVIC) general aviation company. "In most airplane transactions today, there is always a local connection even when we are selling to entrepreneurs," Schultz told Reuters at the Shanghai industry event. "It's important for us to have a partner like CAIGA, which has sound relationships and can now introduce our products, our joint ventures to them."

“In November 2012, Textron's Cessna agreed to establish two joint ventures with CAIGA to make Caravan utility turboprops and Citation XLS+ business jets. At the Shanghai showcase, Cessna displayed its first China-built Caravan, bought fresh off the assembly line by an AVIC subsidiary. Brazil's Embraer SA also agreed in 2012 to start assembling its Legacy 650 business jet at Harbin Embraer, another JV with AVIC in northeast China.

“Dassault Falcon remains unconvinced. "It's not economically viable," said Jean Michel Jacob, senior vice president in charge of international sales at the Paris-based aircraft maker, best known for its Falcon 7X jet. "There must be volume of sales to justify the creation of an additional plant. It's very difficult to sell one million jets in China like the auto makers," said Jacob. Instead, the company, which aims to increase its fleet in greater China to 150-200 jets over the next 10 years from about 30 now, has recently beefed up its China customer service by adding a new regional service facility in Beijing, and tripling its parts inventory level.

Image Sources: 1) Nolls China website

Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, Lonely Planet Guides, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Last updated July 2022

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