2015 Asia-Pacific Gold Winner - COMAC, Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China
Company: COMAC, Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Shanghai, China
Category: Company of the Year - Aerospace & Defense and Transportation
Entry Title: COMAC, Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China
Chinese airlines are expected to purchase about 5,000 new planes in the next 20 years, and the country wants to keep some of the estimated $560 billion at home. To that end, a new company was founded in 2008, Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, better known as Comac. Comac plans to compete alongside the dominant names in global aviation, Embraer SA , Bombardier Inc., Airbus Group NV and Boeing Co.
China attempted to develop a commercial aircraft in the 1970s, but that program, the Y-10, was abandoned in the 1980s. One of the Y-10 prototypes still stands in the grounds of Comac’s original Shanghai factory, behind a sign that reads in English and Chinese “Never give up.”
• Comac’s first commercial aircraft , the 90-seat ARJ21 regional jet, is being built by a consortium of Chinese aircraft companies, and is expected to begin commercial operations this year. The ARJ21 aims to compete against Brazil's Embraer SA and Canada's Bombardier Inc.
• The ARJ21 was declared airworthy in December 2014 after a certification program monitored by the FAA.
• In March 2015, The ARJ21-700 conducted a demonstration flight on Monday from Shanghai to Tianjin, an important step in testing the plane's flying ability and maintenance prior to its delivery.
• The company says that it has initial and confirmed orders for 308 ARJ21 planes
• COMAC also is making the self-developed narrow-body jet C919, the first plane Comac has designed from the ground up.
• Both the C919 and the ARJ21 rely heavily on Western technology for engines and electronics, with suppliers including General Electric, Honeywell, Kidde and Rockwell Collins
• Comac will make good on orders of China's C919 large passenger aircraft later this year, with the basic assembly of the aircraft already finished. The company says that it has initial and confirmed orders for 450 C919s. The airplane leasing arm of General Electric Co.,GE Capital Aviation Services, as well as Ryanair Holdings PLC and British Airways, are among the 16 customers for the C919.
A collaboration between Boeing and COMAC to improve the efficiency of China’s commercial aviation system will turn waste cooking oil from restaurants and catering facilities - often described in China as “gutter oil” - into jet fuel. They estimate that 500 million gallons of biofuel could be made annually in China from used cooking oil.
To avoid another missing MH370, the US subsidiary of the COMAC has been testing a new emergency information recorder and tracking system that separates from the tail section of the plane in the event of a plane crash. The company claims the system transcends traditional designs of black box recorders used in commercial aircraft. The company has filed a patent application for the Harbinger emergency system with the US Patent and Trademark Office. COMAC believes new models of commercial aircraft in the future will benefit from using the system.
• Expanding its ambitions and rivalry with Boeing Co. and Airbus Group NV, COMAC announced plans to develop its own wide-body passenger plane over the next decade. The proposed aircraft—tentatively called the C929—would be state-backed COMAC’s largest.. It would be a substantial advance on the smaller C919 and ARJ21 regional jet.. The goal is for the C929—which could carry several hundred passengers at a time on journeys across Asia—to take flight after 2020, possibly in 2023.
• COMAC’s strategic partner for the C929 is Russia’s United Aircraft Corp., created in 2006 when Moscow combined the assets of the country’s largest state-owned aircraft manufacturers, which have decades of experience.
With the first of its new planes taking flight this year, COMAC is emerging as a new innovative and strategic player in the Global aviation market for commercial aircraft and worthy of the title of Company of the Year.