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Large Aircraft Program Targets at 150-seat Model 1st

China will start its jumbo aircraft development program with a 150-seat model, one of the world's most popular types of jet, according to Zhang Qingwei, board chairman of Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd. (COMAC).

The aircraft will be designed and assembled in Shanghai, but will source parts and components globally, which is a model adopted by the two air dominant groups, Boeing and Airbus, Wu Guanghui, chief designer of the program and deputy general manager of COMAC, was quoted as saying by Wednesday's China Daily.

"We will choose international suppliers through bidding. But priority will go to foreign suppliers that design and manufacturer products with domestic companies in China," he said at the ongoing six-day air show in Zhuhai of south China's Guangdong Province.

China has used the same model for the ARJ21 program and 19 foreign suppliers provide parts and components to the regional jet.

COMAC plans to set up overseas subsidiaries in Europe, the United States, Hong Kong and Russia to market the airplane internationally, said Jin Zhuanglong, the company's general manager.

Zhang Qingwei said the company would consider international cooperation with Airbus, Boeing or Russian companies, but the level of cooperation has yet to be discussed.

China's own large commercial aircraft will be put on the market by 2020, Miao Wei, vice minister of industry and information technology, said earlier. COMAC will complete the concept design and research on key technologies by 2010 and start production by 2014, Miao said.

The world would need 20,000 single-aisle aircrafts in this category in the next two decades, while China would require 1,400 such jets.

According to China Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC), China needs to replenish 3,815 passenger planes to its civil air fleets in the coming 20 years.

The total included 2,822 large jets and 993 regional jets. By 2020, the country's civil aviation sector will have fleets of 4,250 passenger planes and 604 cargo planes in 2027.

(Xinhua News Agency November 5, 2008)

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