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Global suppliers seek to fly high with C919

By Zhu Wenqian | China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-10 10:30

Workers inspect the engine of the C919 after its test taxing two days before its maiden flight at Shanghai Pudong International Airport on Friday. [Photo by Yin Liqin/For China Daily]

The successful maiden test flight of the C919, China's first homegrown passenger aircraft, has shown numerous business opportunities await international suppliers of COMAC (Commercial Aircraft Corp of China Ltd), the State-owned enterprise that built the plane.

Honeywell Aerospace, a major provider of aircraft hardware and avionics systems, had supplied four critical technologies and solutions to the narrow-body C919, including the auxiliary power system, wheels and brakes, flight control package, and navigation package.

"The C919 program represents a $15 billion to $16 billion opportunity for Honeywell over the life of the aircraft program, which involves direct sales to the original equipment manufacturers, as well as aftermarket services," said Steven Lien, president of Honeywell Aerospace Asia Pacific.

Typically, the timeframe of the life of an aircraft tends to be 20 to 30 years spanning production and runs, and another 20 to 30 years for aftermarket servicing.

Honeywell said the C919 also represents an evolution of the original equipment manufacturer front in China, and it is helping Honeywell to grow its footprint, as it currently has over 500 engineers in the country.

"The first flight of the C919 aircraft marks a great milestone not only for COMAC but China and the entire global aerospace industry. It expands the 'China dream' of flying high with homegrown aircraft," Lien said.

"We are proud to be a major contributor to the successful first flight. We have been committed to supporting the emergence of a globally competitive aviation sector in China, and we look forward to extending our relationship with COMAC for the upcoming long-range wide-body aircraft (the C929) program and more."

Honeywell said it is currently in discussions with COMAC for the avionics package for the C929, and it includes Honeywell's satellite communications solutions.

Meanwhile, UTC Aerospace Systems, a unit of Connecticut-based United Technologies Corp, a diversified company that provides high-technology products and services to the aerospace and building industries, has been selected by COMAC to supply multiple systems for the C919 jet.

UTC Aerospace provides various systems for electric power, emergency power, fire protection, pilot control, interior and exterior lighting, ice detection and prevention of ice formation for the C919 aircraft.

The company said it was brought into the C919 project at the very beginning and has been working with COMAC throughout the design, build and first flight stages of the jet.

"It's been an exciting and rewarding project. Rarely do you have the opportunity to make history and the C919 is an incredible step forward for aviation in China," said Nate Boelkins, vice-president of Electric Power Systems at UTC Aerospace Systems.

"The forecast growth for commercial aviation in China is tremendous and we want to be part of that growth. We want to continue to be a trusted and reliable partner to COMAC as they write a new chapter in commercial aviation."

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