Manufacturing News

BOC Aviation orders twenty C919 aircraft from COMAC

Aircraft leasing company BOC Aviation signed an agreement with China's young aircraft manufacturer COMAC on Tuesday to order twenty C919 planes.

BOC Aviation is the 11th launch customer for C919, China's home- grown large passenger aircraft program. With the agreement, COMAC now has a backlog of 235 for the single-isle 150-seater.

The agreement was signed on Tuesday at the Singapore Airshow by Robert Martin, managing director and chief executive officer of BOC Aviation, and Wu Guanghui, vice president of COMAC and chief designer of C919.

COMAC, or Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, was a state- owned firm established in 2008 to develop home-grown passenger aircraft, including the short range jet ARJ21 and single-isle narrow-body passenger aircraft C919 that have been marketed over the past years.

Jin Zhuanglong, chairman of COMAC, said the theoretic studies, feasibility studies and preliminary development phases have been completed for the C919 project.

The project is now in detailed design and engineering development phase after getting an approval in a preliminary design review on Dec. 9, 2011. The formal production of the aircraft began on Dec. 19, 2011.

"In 2012, we will roll out the detailed design work, all production drawings will be released and overall trial manufacture will start," Jin said.

The company is aiming for C919 to have its first flight in 2014, followed by airworthiness certification and first delivery in 2016.

BOC Aviation is the wholly-owned subsidiary of Bank of China. The aircraft leasing company is headquartered in Singapore and has offices in Europe and North America. It has a fleet of more than 170 modern aircraft flying with 10 airlines worldwide.

BOC Aviation said, as a launch customer, it will actively participate in the development of C919 by offering constructive suggestions.

The other launch customers of COMAC's C919 include Chinese airlines and aircraft leasing companies as well as U.S.- headquartered GE Capital Aviation Services.

COMAC has said it is relying on self-dependent innovation as well as international suppliers to develop aircraft like C919, an aircraft strictly in line with airworthiness standards and saving fuel to reduce direct operating cost by 10 percent compared with existing aircraft of the same size.

It will be powered by the advanced new engine LEAP-X1C, supplied by CFM International, a joint venture company between GE Aviation of the United States and Snecma of France. The outfield noise of the new engine stands above the requirements of the fourth stage of the International Civil Aviation Organization ( ICAO).

It is also more environmental with the twin annular premixing swirler II.

Separately, COMAC also signed master contracts on Tuesday with different suppliers for airborne systems on C919.

European manufacturer Liebherr will be the supplier of the aircraft's landing gears and air management systems, while the United States-based designer and manufacturer Moog will be the supplier of its high lift system.

The signing of the master contract for the airborne systems showed that the C919 project has come to the comprehensive engineering development phase.

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