SHANGHAI - A company to build large passenger aircraft was unveiled yesterday, a key step forward in the country's ambitious project to produce homemade jumbo jets.
Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang (L) and Shanghai Party Chief Yu Zhengsheng (R) unveil the plaque for China's first ever jumbo passenger aircraft company at the inauguration ceremony in Shanghai, east China, May 11, 2008. China's first ever jumbo passenger aircraft company, which was a major part of the nation's large jet program, was officially inaugurated in Shanghai on Sunday. [Xinhua]
Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd (CACC) will be responsible for researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing the aircraft.
The new firm has a registered capital of 19 billion yuan ($2.7 billion), with the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission investing 6 billion yuan to become its largest shareholder with 31.58 percent of the shares.
Other stakeholders include Shanghai Guo Sheng (Group) Co Ltd (26.32 percent), China Aviation Industry Corporation I (AVIC I) (21.06 percent), and China Aviation Industry Corporation II (AVIC II) (5.26 percent).
Vice-Premier Zhang Dejiang said at the inauguration ceremony that the large-jet program is of great significance to improve independent innovation capabilities and meet the rapidly expanding civil aviation market at home.
To that end, China should actively use sophisticated technologies, and at the same time, make breakthroughs in core technologies and secure intellectual property rights, Zhang said.
Zhang Qingwei, former minister of the Commission of Science Technology and Industry for National Defense (COSTIND), was appointed board chairman of the company, while COSTIND Vice-Minister Jin Zhuanglong was appointed president.
COSTIND was ordered to be merged with the Ministry of Industry and Information during the March restructuring of the State Council in March.
Zhang said the company will focus on five sectors - aircraft development, system integration, marketing, customer service and certification.
At the ceremony attended by more than 500 guests from home and abroad, Jin said it was too early to set a timetable for the start of operations, adding that it will take a long time for the company to train talents and conduct research.
"Since large aircraft cannot be made in one or two days, CACC poses no threat to jet-makers like Boeing and Airbus," Jin said.
According to Jin, CACC's goals within the first few years include finishing delivery of ARJ21 aircraft - the first homegrown regional jet - establishing an operating system and training talents.
Shanghai Aircraft Manufacturing Factory and First Aircraft Institute of AVIC I, which participated in producing the ARJ21-700, have joined CACC.
The 70- to 90-seat ARJ21-700 rolled off the production line in Shanghai last December, and will start its maiden flight in the autumn.
The State Council approved the large-aircraft project in February 2007 and incorporated it in the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10) along with lunar exploration and manned spaceflights.
Xinhua and agencies contributed to the story