Wu Guanghui, vice-president of the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd (COMAC), would like a lot more financial support from the government to bolster the domestic aviation industry, which is facing strong competition from foreign players such as Boeing and Airbus.
China is forecast to need about 4,000 planes in the next 20 years.
Wu said major domestic airlines such as Air China, China Eastern and China Southern, as well as Sichuan Airlines and Hainan Airlines, have expressed strong interest and support in buying his company’s jumbo jet.
The C919 single-aisle jetliner is designed for short- to medium-haul flights of up to 5,555 km. The draft design of the country’s first independently developed jumbo jet will be completed by this year and be put into production by next year.
What Wu Guanghui did not say is what view Boeing and Airbus will take of what they will almost certainly define as subsidies.
China Daily reported that at the moment the aircraft should test fly in 2014 and be ready for delivery after 2016. Wu said COMAC expects to sell 2,000 C919 planes at home and abroad in the next two decades.