COMAC’s bid to develop a 150-200 passenger jet is in trouble.
According to this report, CFM doesn’t plan to proceed with an assembly line within China for the LEAP-1C that will power the C919. Concerns over intellectual property and the business case for the airplane are cited.
According to this article, GKN of Europe, which was to build the horizontal tail assembly, isn’t going to.
The airplane was supposed to enter service in 2016 and we already figured a delay of at least two years. Given the regional ARJ21 is already around seven years late, and still not certified, we think the two years is probably going to move to the right substantially.
If we’re generous and look at a 2020 EIS, this means the C919–an Airbus A320 look-alike–would enter service five years after the A320neo and three years after the Boeing 737 MAX. The airplane is also going to trail in sophistication.
Boeing officials as recently as this year still believe China will develop viable, commercially competitive airliners within the next 25-50 years. The ARJ21 program has been a disaster and it we anticipated that the C919 would be better than the ARJ21 (a low bar, to be sure), not truly competitive with the A320 and 737 but COMAC’s “makee-learn” airliner. It’s looking like this will be a disastrous program, too.