HOTR: China’s desire for aerospace self-sufficiency threatens Airbus, Boeing

By the Leeham News Team

China’s goal for C919

China’s state-run aviation industry is working toward self-sufficiency because of sanctions. But it is these same sanctions that will make it difficult to achieve.

Beijing wants to shift to supplying its single-aisle jet needs to the COMAC C919 by the end of this decade, according to a person familiar with the situation. But ramping production up to meet future demand is difficult under the best of circumstances.

With Western-built suppliers a key to the development of the C919, including the CFM LEAP 1C engines, there is little chance the domestic industry can shift exclusively to domestic suppliers on the scale required in the time desired.

Regardless of the feasibilities, these goals are bad news for Boeing—and most likely for Airbus, too.

Boeing’s dilemma with China is well known. Aside from the geopolitical challenges between China and the US and the well-known slow return to service of the in-country 737 MAXes, Boeing can’t deliver 138 new-build MAXes to China.

Deliveries are blocked for the aforementioned geopolitical considerations. Beijing’s three-year-long zero-COVID policies cratered domestic demand. With the policies recently lifted, passenger traffic is building but it is still well below pre-pandemic levels.

But that’s not all.

Airline viability

The viability of many airlines within China is iffy. The Big Three Airlines—Air China, China Eastern, and China Southern—are on solid financial footing. But smaller, independent, or locally supported airlines are not. Beijing requires them to prove they can financially support previously placed orders and prove they can successfully support taking airplanes on a one-by-one basis. If not, Beijing blocks delivery.

This is another reason Boeing is sitting on its inventory of 138 airplanes. But Airbus is increasingly affected, too. There are A320neo family members in storage that are undelivered. And, according to one person familiar with the situation, Airbus faces delivery refusals of up to 100 airplanes in the near term. One Chinese airline is rejecting nearly a dozen A320neos from Airbus and lessors, some already built in its specifications.

Airbus last year won an order from China for 292 aircraft. The fate of some of these orders may be up in the air, given Beijing’s prove-you-can-use-it approach. Airbus has an A320 assembly plant in Tianjin capable of building eight A320s a month. Just how this fits into China’s goal of self-sufficiency remains to be seen.

But toward the end of this decade, there might be a major shift in China’s procurement. Boeing already appears a loser in this. Airbus may see its position seriously undermined. Skepticism about shifting to the C919 is huge. But a major shift is coming and there’s little Boeing or Airbus will be able to do about it.

Russia’s plans for confiscated airliners

Russia wants to use the confiscated Western airliners until 2030, reports Russian media.

“Russian carriers Western-made airliners may ‘easily fly’ until 2030 provided that work is done to maintain their flight worthiness, Head of the Federal Agency for Air Transport Alexander Neradko said,” reports the news outlet Russian Aviation.


147 Comments on “HOTR: China’s desire for aerospace self-sufficiency threatens Airbus, Boeing

  1. Russia is technically now a “supplier” to the CR929 programme rather than a participant (sanctions) yet the Chinese have witnessed the effect of sanctions on the Russian programmes and know they too must reconfigure their programmes or inevitably face the same consequences. The CR919 will have PD-14 engines.

    • The stated reason is the Russian wanted the project to be entirely Russian and Chinese, while the Chinese want Western supplier involved.
      Because of this disagreement, Russia decided to withdraw, Russian companies only join as suppliers.

      • Tuan:

        I don’t see any support for that. The MS-21 was launched with a major western supplier presence.

        China at the time would be the one who wanted to minimize it.

        And regardless, the 929 is no a dead duck.

        • This is new (a few months ago). MC-21 project (The Russians called it MC in English articles, not MS) was started long time ago and now is undergoing a purge of western-supplied parts.
          Without Russian involvement in design and certification, 929 is a dead duck now. There are much to learn.

          • The tech for the 929 comes from Russia. The 929 will not see the light of day though the Chinese may start a program to master composite construction and come out with their own project.

            Russia can try to Russify the MC-21 all they want, but a lot of that tech is outside parts sources and they are competing with a war that can’t get the chips they want and they don’t have the chips for anywhere near all of that.

            So yea, you get one prototype by salvaging washing machines and cloths dryer but not in production numbers. They are trying to do the same thing with the Super Jet.

          • “.. salvaging washing machines and cloths dryer ..”

            inane comment. not unexpected. ( too much “IronSky” movie? )

            like the Viagra soldiers stuff a made up story to denigrate the adversary. ( they also have little kids for dinner didn’t you know?)
            Consumer electronics have “burned in” programming for the µPs.

            And the shot down Spy Balloons have groups of amateur researchers in tears.

  2. Chinese airlines only purchase locally made planes under duress as these have terrible residual values and would undermine the profitability of the airline.

    Instead they take them from “leasing companies”, in effect China’s long suffering banks, who have to buy the planes at high cost and lease them at massively subsidized rates.

      • Check out the orders page on Wikipedia . The more viable Chinese airlines – Air China, China Eastern, China Southern – have purchased precisely 5 frames each. You couldn’t be more token.

        The airlines taking 20 frames are all financially stressed and subsidised by the state. One is owned by an airframe manufacturer.

        The remaining 500 or so orders are almost entirely from leasing companies owned by Chinese banks. Subsidizing China’s individual policy is a key function of those banks.

          • BA investors/shareholders subsidized early 787 customers to the tune of over $32 billion (covered-up by its program accounting black box)!

          • Spin it any way you want.

            When all your orders are from Chinese Government controlled institutions, its a not a matter of the frog jumping when you tell it to but how high do you want me to jump.

          • @TW

            Don’t you know at one time, BA (incl. its predecessors BEA & BOAC), BAe and RR were state-owned?

            Those who don’t know history are doomed to fail.

          • it used to be until a number of impecile twits started to weaponize it and morphed content to their masters liking.
            But this touches on politically active stuff.
            ( and quite often you can expose those changes via the page history.)
            For a lot of things WP is useful. .. and it is just a meta information site anyway. Stuff written their is supported by reference links.

    • FF:

      You can add in its a balance. Each major Chinese owned airline has to take the same number.

      They then are not at an economic disadvantage. Keep em parked as much as you can get away with and plenty for spare parts.

      And they won’t fly them to any of the few countries that allow non certified aircraft, they break down there and its huge international news.

      • Same approach to the Indonesian airline TransNusa orders of ARJ21.
        The airline was capitalised by an injection of chinese money by Everbright
        and leased from AVIC a known Comac leassor.

        Indonesia should be a good market for a 95 seater twin jet, but without the chinese money and lease may not have happened. We wish them well

  3. I have watched the Chinese develop aircraft going all the way back to the MD80 kit assembly game decades ago. They have the ability to do it, perhaps not in numbers today, but that will come. They are probably 2 more generations of aircraft away from parity with western makers. Some people say their industry is built on industrial trade secret theft, and there is much of that going on, but they understand the process so much better today. Don’t think for a minute they are not plotting industry domination, that’s their long term plan. The industry had better pray that Embraer isn’t sold to them, gaining all the certification processes and procedures to get a certifiable aircraft on the first pass would be devastating to the west.

    • Unless they blink like Mitsubishi and keep developing new versions of the C919 at a fast and well funded tempo, letting young well trained engineers take charge they will be equal to Airbus in China. Just look at the progress they made in high speed trains and cars by similar means by cooperating and stealing technology off western suppliers.
      Russia is transforming themselves into a large and isolated North Korea and China risk doing the same by not holding back its military ambitions. One wrong move and they are a new isolated Russia with western companies pulling out of China to other populous Asia countries or stable countries in Africa like Ethiopia with +100 Million inhabitants.

      • “Russia is transforming themselves into a large and isolated North Korea and China risk doing the same by not holding back its military ambitions.”

        If you read the publications in NATO land : yes.

        If you can be bothered to look elsewhere : not.

        What I see is a group of 1st world nations that want their cookie and eat it too at all cost.
        A wide range of nations are watching carefully and they don’t like what they see.

        For Today’s China the Opium Wars are seen as transformational. Never again ..

        • We will see if China misbehaves against any of its neighbours and causes a reaction like the one against North Korea. Still the west accepts China and India buying all Russian oil for now.

          • Since when did US and EU law apply in other countries ? Did I miss the part where they gained world dominion and can now ‘diktat’ to everyone else.
            The only one who can do global sanctions is UN. Good luck with that.

            Russians who live in the west and have been back to visit relatives say that nothing has changed for the middle classes lives in places like St Petersburg.

          • Actually there is a mechanism for control. Chips are made with US software and equipment. That can be cut off.

            China gets huge discounts on oil and gas from Russia because the normal markets are not taking it as well as the cargo insurance.

            But Russia wanted China to supply it with Western Aircraft parts and that is not happening. China does not want to get cutoff from those parts.

            Russia in turn has to pay huge costs to keep their own airlines in operation as well as a diminish number as they don’t have the parts to keep them going. You don’t just substitute a Russian circuit board for a French one, you have to build the tech that makes the chips and the programing with and on it.

            You can kludge parts in some areas in, but how long will they work and the failure rate and frequent happening.

            So the Rosy PR picture from Russia is just that.

          • India buys cheap crude from Russia and sells refined products back to Europe & US; so much for the sanctions & expect more Indian billionaires to join the Forbes list!

          • The policy of “let the German freeze” and “de-industrialize” Europe.

          • China gets hugely discounted oil, gas and diesel as does India.

            That hits Russia in the pocket books (let alone they don’t have the distribution network to the East they had to the West)

            You will notice that China is taking not giving. They have their own problems. Most self inflicted but they don’t want it getting any worse.

            India and China in turn can sell any surplus on (India is very dependent on Coal so cheap oil is not a slam dunk as they can’t burn it in power plants that are coal derived nor Natural gas without major conversions)

            But the money goes to the middle country.

            This is a good overview of just the Chips situation and there is a lot of other tech involved


            Anyone remember Russia was just going to buy Airbus and Boeing parts from China? Ain’t happening.

          • Remind me where does Iran get its aircraft/engine spare parts?? 🙄

          • @TW

            Have you gone thru’ any data?? What’s the growth of refined products export from India from 2021 to 2022? How does it compare with those of China?? 🙄

          • “China misbehaves”

            Judgement based on “what” ?

            Frustrating US desires is not misbehaving.

            But sabotaging allied nations infrastructure definitely is.

            I am regularly taken back by these bigotted “quot licet Jovi, no licet Bovi” attitudes.

          • @TW

            Let me remind you who profited mightily from exploiting Europeans’ foolishness to stop importing cheap NG? The U.S.

            To de-industrialize Europe is one of the (implicit) policies of U.S.

          • Do you know that Reliance Industries in India buys Russian oil and refines it into petroleum products that the USA then buys on the cheap? As Uwe mentions above, a growing number of nations are simply sick of the hypocritical west trying to instruct them on what to do.

        • What people forget is that China has a population larger than the US and EU combined and a rapidly improving economy. The current growth of the Chinese economy is driven by domestic consumption, not export. They don’t need “the west” anymore to grow. Comparing it with North Korea is not understanding what this scale means. ASEAN, which is another 600 million people with rapidly improving economies, has China as its biggest trading partner and no longer the US (now #3) and EU (now #2). They are not going to cut off from China in the same way as EU will never cut from the US.

          If you visit companies in China, a lot of them are modern and could have been based in EU or US. Making cheap copies of western products finished 20 years ago. While aviation is a difficult business, they have the patience to develop and I agree with Scott Correa that with 2 aircraft generations from now they will be serious competitors. I have helped to set up R&D centers in China and India and the China R&D engineers perform on average are much better than the Indian ones. (for the record, decisions to set up these R&D centers were made in the US and Germany).

          At the same time while everybody is obsessed with the “China problem”, India under Modhi is undergoing a similar transformation as China. And I believe the momentum is such that it is no longer dependent on which government is running India. It is forecasted that by 2050, China is the #1 economy in the world and India #2. Having a population of over a billion helps a lot. In 10-15 years from now India will have the same ambitions as China and we will be debating here about the threats from India and how incapable they are establishing their own aircraft industry and this whole discussion starts all over again.

          • All reports are China economy is not improving and you are seeing the empty apartments come crashing down.

            When you run on a bubble (been there, done that, have T shirts) then you suffer a crash (ask Boeing abut the days of 14 a month 787s!)

            The problem with breaking into Aviation is you have to not only have current tech or better, you need a support system and that is the reason Mitsubishi bought out the CRJ program from BBD.

            On top of that you go no where without world recognized recertification and that means FAA or EASA. Canada and Brazil are two of the few countries that can get that.

          • “All reports are China economy is not improving … ”

            GS: China’s Reopening is Poised to Boost Global Growth
            -> China’s reopening from Covid-19 restrictions will not only accelerate the country’s economic recovery, but it will also boost global economic growth, according to Goldman Sachs Research.

            -> Due to the faster-than-expected rate of reopening, our economists now forecast China’s GDP to grow by 6.5% in 2023 on a Q4/Q4 basis.

            It begs to ask: what’s the projected growth rate for U.S./Europe?

      • No one imports oil from N Korea, unlike today’s Russia.

        -> Russia Did Most Oil Drilling in Decade Even as Sanctions Hit

        -> Goldman says Russian oil sold for significantly more than quoted prices

        -> Russian oil production unexpectedly rebounded in 2022

    • “Some people say their industry is built on industrial trade secret theft,…”

      Sure, learn from your peers. The US is the global Uber-snoop.

      IMU the US “learned” aeroplane manufacture during WWII
      on the federal budget. They brought that rather unchanged into the future.
      Competence was gained first by knowledge shared by the Brits and later war spoils from Germany and aided by significant numbers of German professionals.
      But that seems to be “momentum used up” now.

      IP concepts that liken to tangible goods : ideas that can be stolen, destroyed, lost, …
      real innovation is a continuously giving fount.

      • Thats just not true.
        The DC4 ( as the E experimental version flew in 1938) and Constellation as L-049 started development before the war.
        Thats not even covering the large flying boat airliners
        They knew how to make planes before the war and yes received funds from federal government to expand production immensely.
        Famously North American came up with the Mustang design in a very short time , only after they were asked about license production of the outdated Curtiss P-40. The US concentrated on larger radial aircooled engines so it was improved again by the Rolls V12 engine.
        Planes like the Lockheed P-38 Lightning ( 1938)and Vought F4U (1940) Corsair didnt have an UK input

        A Whittle jet engine was provided which led to GE I-A/J-31 but the US developed its own axial jet with GE/Allison J35 ( first flight 1946)

        The secrets from Germany after the war were mostly to do with rockets , not airliners.
        But it worked both ways as prewar Ohain had the advantage of seeing Whittles patent before he filed his own ( with an unworkable design of compressor and turbine back to back that even Heinkel knew immediately had to be changed if they were to build it)

        • The engine development in the US is more complex that stated above. Probably the only tech the US took from the UK on aircraft was the Artificial Horizon (the UK was way ahead in installing those pre WWII)

          Quick lesson. A turbo charger uses exhaust gas to drive it, kind of free power source that gets blown overboard. A Super Charger is driven off the engine, usually gear driven. Turbo chargers are a problem in that they are extremely hot and in a compact fighter, that is a bad combination.

          The US Army focus was on liquid cooled engines for fighters and Radials for Bombers. The Allison in fact was a better engine than the Merlin (simpler, modular, far fewer parts, tested harder for certification and vastly better retained performance before overhaul). It lacked in one area and that was purely the US Army Air Corp did not believe in super chargers, and they did not believe in high altitude fighters (P-38 being the exception).

          The Allison also had a much better cooling system that allowed the engine to be almost out of coolant before it seized up. Right handy over Europe.

          It was not the Merlin engine that made the P-51 so good, it was the dual speed super charger that maintained performance up to high altitudes (or more accurately delayed the drop off)

          As great as the Mosquito was, it also was a pilot killer as it did not have counter rotating propellers like the P-38.

          And while the Brits complained about the P-51 performance with the Allison, what did they do? They went onto build the Tempest and Typhoon that could not fight at high altitudes.

          The Turbo Chargers did fit in the cowling of a radial engine bomber, and that is what the Army went with. The P-47 was an expedient design that in turn went onto equal capability with the P-51.

          The US Navy acualy started the Allison engine design, but that was for Blimps and Airships, they went onto Radials as a simpler solution and they put in multi speed super chargers.

          As the Merlin’s were being made in the US by Packard for the Brits, it was easy enough to add into the build for the P-51.

          The P-47s were shifted over to the Pacific and the European Theater went with P-51 (high altitude fighters). Lots of P-51 lost when the over heat issue on the Merlin’s came to roost when shot up at low levels.

          The P-47 was by far the best Fighter Bomber and was used in that role by the Tactical Air Force in Europe (forget the number)

          The Navy F4-U was the finest fighter out of WWII and in latter developed variants with 20mm cannon went onto serve into Korea (as did P-51 out of desperation).

          • Packard had built there own line of V12 aero engines after WW1, the 1A-2500 and 2A-2500, mostly more famous in their marine engine version by WW2.
            The big improvements for mass production in the original pre war Merlin ( which Rolls largely used traditional hand made processes) was done by UK Ford ( 40% public owned !) who converted and ran their original UK car site at Trafford Park Manchester to a Merlin aero engine factory.

            I think you have diminished the US knowledge and production of multistage superchargers and turbo charging. After all, the high altitude air cooled radials used that method as well.
            The Merlin merely came as a pre developed package for a small
            single engine fighter like the Mustang which already had a liquid cooled V12

          • “Probably the only tech the US took from the UK on aircraft was the Artificial Horizon”

            And the all-moving tailplane/stabilator from the Miles M52

          • Duke:

            The issue was in fighters, putting in a Turbo was a bad move, you did not have the space to work with.

            Yes the P-47 did it the Turbo was behind the cockpit and it was huge aircraft.

            The P-38 had a place in the tail booms for a Turbo which fed the super chargers.

            Bombers were all Radial in the US and as I recall the Lancaster had both Radial and Merlin/Packards and a lot of the rest of the UK bombers were radials.

            Packhard did a heck of a job, but all the Allison needed was a two stage Super Charger (two speed) that the Army Air Corp refused to let Allison develop.

            At the time it was an easy decision, Packhard could expand and the Allison’s were committed to the P-38 and the P-40s.

            The US (and the UK) needed all the P-40s the US could make and that took all the engines Allison could gear up for and expand (the P-40 was made on into 1944). The P-38 of course went onto glory in the Pacific taking two Allison’s each (with counter rotating propellers of course as it was a built in option)

            The US was not going to allocate its hard to get Allison’s to the unproven P-51, so they grabbed the Merlin/Packards (who did an incredible job keeping their mfg standard even with the UK)

            So it was Ironic that the US Army Air Corp refusal to let Allison develop two stage or two speed Super charges got thrown over the fence when they saw what the Merlin/Packard P-51 could do.

            The P-40 went onto CAS in the dessert and the Pacific where the Merlin was too picky and maint intensive in those abysmal conditions. P-51 was fine in UK where it was all good infrastructure.

            There was also limitation for emergency power on the Allison s that the UK did not impose on the Merlin’s (if you need it use it, replace the engine if we have to which is the right attitude)

            And then Ironically from mid 1944 on it was a low altitude war in Europe and the old P-51A would have stood out.

            I worked on Perkins and Lister diesels and the guy I was working for warned me, they use 3 bolts where one bigger one will do. It was amazing how many head bolts they had as well as any other attached item like oil pans.

            Nice engines mind you but far too many parts compared to a US engine.

          • Ah, the F4. Great aircraft indeed, once the Royal Navy had taught the US Navy how to land it on a carrier. And I seem to remember that the P-80 had a British derived jet engine…

            The topic of “what fits in the cowling” is quite interesting. The thing about turbo chargers is that, yes, they can be quite small, but the pipework for them can be a real problem, made worse if you also have an intercooler, and it gets even worse if you have a large number of cylinders. With Merlin and a lot of other British engines, a super charger was seen as the easy to develop option plus had the benefit that the exhaust pipework for the engine was very simple, and exhaust thrust was in itself useful.

            The best example was the Bristol Centaurus, 18 cylinder supercharged radial, which was about the same size as the Wright R-3350 but a bit more powerful and less problematic.

        • True, but Bell Aircraft copied the all-moving tailplane approach for the X1 from the Miles M52, not from the Wright Flyer

    • I agree with our assessment and will add some nuance to your often voiced assertion that the Chinese aviation industry is built on industrial trade secret theft. Actually these trade secrets were largely bought and paid for by the Chinese through their joint ventures with western manufacturers. The executives of these western companies were focused on the short term and the Chinese of course are playing the long game. I learned this would be the case in the 1980’s when I wrote a paper on granting China “Most Favored Nation” status. It was evident then that events would likely unfold precisely as they have.

    • Trade secrets??? There’s not any trade secrets when you open up assembly lines in China, have parts made in China, even wing parts. Trade secrets! How naive to, to think that a business in China will honor trade secrets when it comes to automobiles, drugs, airplanes. The main goal is cheap labor. US business doesn’t really care about trade secrets. What they care about is avoiding paying living wages, having no EPA around, and any other regulation in general, along with – believe it or not – tax breaks and incentives to more this stuff offshore.

      • SamW

        Respectfully, the AESA radar currently flying in chinese fighters was stolen from the Brits. They stole the sidewinder missile and the seeker head from the US. CNC 5 axis machine tech was stolen decades ago when Submarine screw making mills were “acquired” around technology embargos. Its a long and storied history. Technology gifted by JVs is usually the minor stuff When DAC sold the 50 MD80 kits, the airplane by then had nothing novel as all the components in it were in the public domain and the construction methods were old hat sheet metal. Today, metal airplane advancements are hard to make because so many exceptionally gifted people have reduced it to an art form. The last big change I remember in metallic construction was the invention of “Paddle Fittings” on the 767F and Tanker. It was a way to join barrel segments with a self aligning 2 part machined fitting eliminating all the finger joints and shims when linking the stringers together. It took 3 days out of the airplane flow time. Its patented, but that really does nothing to chinese IP theft squads. The real value in the IP chain is the innovators themselves, which for Boeing is being hammered by their continuing brain drain. The whole cessation of PD by Calhoun was unfortunately the right thing to do today. The available engineering talent can’t cover all the current needs. They fell short of the engineering staff up they needed to do a new airplane now, but the hiring continues because they need to develop talent. I suspect that the rumors of PD activities on a small scale are true, because its surrendering to AB if they fail to make product additions of upgrades………

        • “Its patented, but that really does nothing to chinese IP theft squads.”

          This is a big misunderstanding of how patents work. Patents are effectively commercial protection and have not much to do with protecting IP. On the contrary: by filing an IP you tell the rest of the world what you are doing. Also, a patent is only valid in the territory where it is filed in. That is why European patents are worth it as a single application covers the whole of the EU. If you file in the EU and US but not in China, then the Chinese are free to use the patent as it does not apply there. That is not infringement.

          Writing a patent is difficult. You need to be as opaque as possible to cover as wide as possible technical area. So good patents cover a technical concept and list a laundry list of potential applications. They don’t reveal what you are doing. GE is very good in this.

          If you write a patent too specific, it is very easy to work around. So not only do you tell your competitor in your patent application exactly what you are doing and how it works, you also tell them what you need to do to get around the patent. Other patents tell how some internal mechanism works, but it is almost impossible to detect if a competitor has infringed on your your patent. Engineers in general write easy to work around patents and patent lawyers (who are mostly ex-engineers with weird working brains) write good patents which engineers think are rubbish.

          If you really want to protect something, you don’t patent it. You keep it secret within your company. By filing the “paddle fittings” patent, Boeing informed the rest of the world how it works. And if it was not filed in China, they are free to use this information and apply it. The only thing they can not do is sell the end product in the US.

          I worked on a product where GE had a patent only for the US and this patent addressed applying a technology which is taught in every engineering school in the world to a specific application. We ended up using this standard methodology everywhere in the world except the US. In the US we used effectively the same technology but implemented in a non-standard way to get around the patent. Most complex part was working with a US patent attorney to validate that we would not infringe on the patent and that costs $1M+ in fees.

          • That is truly misstaing the realityu

            Many US companies have production owned faiclites in China. They set the standards and that is why you have high quality, its built into their system.

            Flips side is why you have low quality knock off prodcuts, that is built into the Chinese system.

            Try to sue in a Chinese court. Its owned and controlled by the governemtn.

            A US company if it patents and item but will patent in all countries

            Agreed its a stupid system as you have to sue, UK, Europe honor the system but other places? Nope.

            IP is also stolen from the US (and UK/Europe/Canada/Brazil).

            But IP if its protected is potentially bullet proof. Its not pouring out a bolt, its the metallurgy and heat treatment that goes into the bolt that ensures is not butter soft and meets Grade 8 specs. And to solve that simple aspect (relatively speaking metallurgy wise) you have to do a lot of R&D and then industrialize the process (not the same thing as making it work in a lab).

            I worked with one fastener company that moved its source to China (note sourced, it did not establish its own company there).

            And then they had to build a huge lab in the US to test what they were getting.

            So yea, US companies and politicians can be and were/are amazingly stupid about stuff (well greedy).

          • Try to sue in a Chinese court. Its owned and controlled by the governemtn. ”

            Even more so as a foreigner in the US.
            A fully jingoistic system.

          • Wait till the next TPP or whatever they call the next trade pact the boys shove down our throats. There will be no recourse whatsoever when it comes to the courts. Remember, the goal is essentially slave labor without having to feed or house the slaves.

  4. Possibly a bit off-topic, but the same is happening right now in the computer chip industry. China is forced to get independent because of sanctions. And while it hurts them now and in the mid-term, it will be the West that pays the price long-term.
    As they have to invest now into learning, developing and building their self-sufficiency, it also means to foster a future strong competition in those fields.

    And I am certain that they will succeed. Maybe not yet by 2030, but they don’t focus on the next quarter as Wallstreet does.

  5. The Chinese are in for the long run, they think >20 years ahead, for the nation. We can’t blame the US’ or EU ’s desire for aerospace self-sufficiency, neither the Chinese. It takes a long time, talent & money to produce good engines and avionics, they have all three.

    • As for the long view, (remember the US is less than 5% of the global population) (With a GDP of 23.32 trillion dollars, the USA is the world’s largest economy followed by China in second place with a GDP of 17.73 trillion dollars)
      So why shouldn’t the #2 Global economy nd #1 world population build their own commercial aircraft
      (World population (China 1.4 billion India 1.4 Billion US 336m))

      • No, China does not think 20 years ahead, they just are in it for the long run or they think they are but that also changes from one Chairman to the next.

        Dictatorships also have their inherent weaknesses .

        Japan and Germany found out in WWII what happens when you poke a snoozing Grizzly. Best leave is snoozing, once it gets moving, its bad news.

  6. Deliberate ambiguity??

    “The Big Three Airlines—Air China, China Eastern, and China Southern—are on solid financial footing.”

    “Airbus last year won an order from China for 292 aircraft. The fate of some of these orders may be up in the air.”

    @Scott, who placed those orders with AB??

    • @Pedro: In China, the orders are often placed by the government with allocation to the airlines to follow.

        • Whos is the owner of the ‘big three’?
          They are subsidiaries of the Ministry of Civil Aviation

          Scott is correct of course about the centralised buying agency of the state, ( makes financial sense too as bulk buys get better discounts) which handles the orders for the smaller private controlled airlines too.
          Being China, there may be leakages around the rules, depending whos got ‘better contacts’

          • The Big Three are on solid financial footing. The fate of Airbus’ order received last year are “up in the air”. Make sense??

          • BTW that’s a (huge) stretch to call them “subsidiaries”. 🤣

          • When you are totally owned by someone, you are a subsidiary.

          • Its the ‘State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council’ that is the final shareholder through various holding companies.

          • 1) So your claim that they are “subsidiaries” of Ministry of Civil Aviation is wrong?? Oops! 🤣

            2) Furthermore you can’t call them subsidiaries of a state agency (like SASAC)! Jeez.

            3) The Airbus order can’t be “up in air” at the same time the Big Three are “on solid financial footing”.

          • China is a leninist party-state system , normal commercial arrangements like in the west dont apply. They are still state owned/controlled and as Scott said airliner orders are centrally coordinated/ bulk buys

            I know nothing about ‘orders up in the air’, Ill leave that to experts.

            What does your info from twitter or your car boot say ?

          • Jon Ostrower on the Airbus planes refused by China

            They refused deliveries of Australian thermal coal to China maybe a year back- for political reasons, even coal paid for and in transit was turned away. It was just a political stunt from the central government and the coal traders and municipal owners of power stations had to comply. Now back on track, but prices are much higher now!
            Having to reverse later like what will happen with the Airbus and eventually Boeing planes just shows they dont have the clout the political bosses like to think

          • Wow. Went back to your old trick of personal attack when you can’t refute with fact or admit your mistakes??

            A “leninist” state??
            Time to wake up. ⏰

            Are we talking about 2023 or 2018? Why you quoted a five-year story??

          • It’s almost funny how you purposely twisted it into refused delivery. 🙄

            The CNN story is about certification delay:
            -> “Airbus disputed the idea that political issues are affecting the pace of Chinese approvals. “This is a technical validation process … not a political one,” a spokesman for the company said. “The number of aircraft is small, and these will be delivered in the short term.”
            China’s aviation regulator is considered one of the most methodical and rigorous on the planet.

            -> Airbus (was) awarded Chinese certification for its new A321neo with Pratt & Whitney engines

          • What about Vietnam Airlines is the national airline of Vietnam and majority-owned by the Vietnamese government. (Vietnam is a socialist republic with a one-party system led by the Communist Party.) But I guess is ok because they buy more Boeing aircraft than Airbus? Surprising, 10-15 years ago (my research) 70% of the global airlines are government owned or influenced

          • David P:

            That does not change the reality that its a state owned and controlled system.

            In the case of Vietnam they have a long history of not wanting to be taken over by anyone else, the US learned that lesson to its sad detriment.

            What you seem to be saying is if Vietnam does it what?

            Vietnam is not trying to play the US off against Europe. China is trying to play Europe off vs the US.

            Europe is getting some hard lessons in appeasement and who you do not want controlling your supply chains.

          • By the same logic, Boeing planes “refused” by Canada? 🤣

            -> A delay in getting four 737-800 aircraft, newly converted to freighters by Boeing, certified by the Canadian government has set back WestJet’s plans to expand into freighter operations by nine months.

            The four cargo jets are sitting idle on the tarmac at Calgary International Airport, WestJet’s home base, while Boeing awaits approval from aviation authorities for the design changing the used passenger aircraft into a dedicated freighter.

  7. -> “50% rejection rate for iPhone casings produced in India. […] Apple’s target for casings that fail to pass quality control is 0%, with Chinese suppliers reportedly getting extremely close to this.”

  8. Part of the world is raised / injected with good-bad paradigms where the reds/commies/socialists are on one side. And ‘we’ on the good side.

    If “they” win & we not, it’s unfair at least. And threatening for us, our believes and self esteem.

    So playing down, labelling unfair, ignoring are logical reactions. The reality a society focused (iso individual) is more successful than we, makes a lot of money & says “nope” to us sometimes is apparently something we will get used to.

    If you can’t beat them.. is apparently a strategy Airbus has been implementing earlier than Boeing.

    The fact in 2018 CAAC (rightfully) pulled the plug on the 737MAX is a wound that needs time to heal. In this very extensive page about all aspects of 737MAX certification over the years, China/CAAC are not mentioned. Telling/bizarre.

    • The comment above claiming that low quality is “built into the Chinese system” is a hoot.

      They can make most anything one might want at a high level, given the resources; have a look at some of their high-level musical instruments, especailly the bowed ones.
      I guess they can always aspire to top USian quality like the Boeing 737MAX, though- one must always strive to be the best.

      • Its not a given that Chinese quality is atrocious .

        It is a given that a State Owned entity is going to have bad quality.

        Now if your stuff is held together with enough grade 3 fasteners that can work just fine.

        I worked with SKF bearings a lot. They could be made in Bulgaria, France, the US, it did not matter, they were the top quality bearing out there (Fafnir at one point was their equal, Torrington bought them out and they sourced from China and were unreliable)

        SKF owned the factories that made the bearings and those factories made the bearing to SKF quality standards.

        A lot of years and working with fasteners, bearing and tools, anyone could make cheap stuff, good stuff did not just happen, it was enforced.

        A US made product is not a given for quality. But its not because its government owned.

        • Sure Jane. Remind me how many lives were lost during US’s space exploration? How does it compare with other space nations?? 🙄

          • Pedro wrote…… Sure Jane. Remind me how many lives were lost during US’s space exploration? How does it compare with other space nations??

            17 confirmed dead US Astronauts.
            2 known dead Russians
            and none of the following countries have lost a crewman in their program
            Great Britain

            Since you asked, Have a great day

          • @PNWgeek

            What does that tell you? Why is there such high casualties from one nation? Because they ran the most advanced and challenging programs? Or weakness(es) in (part of) their system?

        • What happened to the Mars Climate Orbiter? What happened to the Mars Polar Lander? Did other nation’s Mars exploration suffer similar fate?

      • U.S. manufacturing has turned a dangerous corner. Tooling in many cases has moved offshore. We saw what happened in protective gear and pharmacology during the pandemic. We still hold a tenuous lead in aerospace, but that could easily be surrendered like electronics, steel, clothing, hammers, nails… Ho-hum… Good-bye food processing. They need their money!

  9. How’d “our” oil/gas/minerals/natural resources get under their soil, anyway?

  10. Concerning China copying western airliners:
    A superficial external resemblance is NOT a copy – Trident vs 727 vs Tu-154 for example. Or VC-10 vs IL-62.
    Even if China were to externally copy the A320 or 737NG – so what. Both designs are decades old.
    It would be impossible to reverse-engineer a modern jetliner down to the smallest details like wiring, tubing, even fasteners. Any company that tried would have to duplicate a thousands-deep drawing tree from the smallest parts to the largest assemblies.
    Any company engaging in this blatant piracy would never be able to form a dependable supply chain with vendors of essential equipment and components not made in China or Russia.
    – First would be engines – neither China nor Russia offer civilian jet engines with the performance, durability and reliability of any engine from CFM, GE, RR, or P&WA.
    – Next would be avionics for flight control, flight management and navigation, plus communications. Plus integrating and operating software.
    – Nor are they competitive with western suppliers of vital components like landing gear, pumps, actuators, generators, plus seats, galleys and IFE.

    In addition, there would not be in-service support for the airplane nor any of its components.

    In short – fuggeddabbouddit.

    • Ironically it was Russia copying a UK engine that made the Mig-15 and their subsequent engine industry what it was.

      But that was early days and the learning curve is much much steeper now.

      • B-29 to TU-4
        but not the engines
        The airliner version was the TU-70. It was not at all like the Stratocruiser

    • Regarding the “Balloon Shootdowns”: does anyone else ever get
      the feeling they’re being trolled?

      It’s a Funny ol’ World (a frivolous and unserious one, too; who benefits?) .

    • -> A small, globe-trotting balloon declared “missing in action” by an Illinois-based hobbyist club has emerged as a candidate to explain one of the three mystery objects shot down by four heat-seeking missiles launched by U.S. Air Force fighters.

      -> “I tried contacting our military and the FBI—and just got the runaround—to try to enlighten them on what a lot of these things probably are. And they’re going to look not too intelligent to be shooting them down,” says Ron Meadows, the founder of Scientific Balloon Solutions (SBS) …

      It’s as if those “experts” are determined to not listen.

      Next, fighter jet pilots need additional training about “balloons”🎈 They shouldn’t have wasted $400k AAM to shoot down a pico balloon.

      • Thanks for the info. Official (“public/private”) Trolldom reigns.. I expect much more of the same- and worse, to a point where reality
        will no longer be discerned except by going outside and looking (good!).

          • Good question then, why not notify the US or drop it into the ocean themselves?

            Spy Balloon it was and where was it headed for originally?

            It had the maneuver capability to adjust its course but went right over key US military sites. They could have dumped it in the ocean well offshore any time.

            We decide what goes on in our airspace and we shot it down.

            China claims the right to shoot down aircraft that are not in their airspace.

          • @TW

            Three more balloons down. Had to scramble multiple military assets. Four AAM fired. One missed the target. (How is that possible???) Oh thank God it had “safely landed in the waters of Lake Huro”. 😂 Balloon wreckage no where to be found. Well done. Laughing stock in front of the whole world.

          • Pedro:

            You conflict balloons in general with spy balloons. Once it becomes political (which it did) then any politician is going to do the safe thing (as is the military)

            So, item ONE is that the Balloon that came in over the Aleutian Chain (US State Territory) , in across the West Coast of Ak, on into Canada, over missile fields and then wandered on off the coats of South Carolina was a SPY balloon. Seen to lift off from Hainan and tracked.

            Very possibly off course, from going over US Territories of Guam and or the State of Hawaii. The US has all rights to force down a manned aircraft violating any of those and if you don’t want your balloon shot down, control it. China has that same right.

            The rest, odd one over Prudhoe Bay (oil field Norther Alaska on the Arctic Ocean). Very dim up there this time of the year, storms etc. Or maybe they found it and are not saying?

            The one North of Whitehorse YT? Been there, actually lived West of there as a kid. Dark, serious hills, a lot forested, snow (think WHITE). They will find that one eventually. I guess you don’t think Canada can do what it wants (or ask for US to do so).

            Lake Huron was a measured shoot down with a safe down range if they missed. Into the water, but it was in aircraft airspace (40k)

            Weather balloons are designed to pop so they do not become hazards to navigation.

            An then the one that ran East over Oahu, the did a J hook and excited to the N.W. Yep, just another weather balloon coming from a strange direction and doing interesting maneuvers. If the owner is smart they will dump it into the Ocean.

          • Check out how many times the word “lie” was used.

            -> That came on Aug. 4, 1964, when the White House announced that the North Vietnamese had *attacked* the U.S.S. Maddox in international waters in the Gulf of Tonkin. This “attack,” though, was anything but *unprovoked aggression*.
            Gen. William C. Westmoreland, the head of U.S. forces in Vietnam, had commanded the South Vietnamese military while they staged clandestine raids on North Vietnamese islands. North Vietnamese PT boats fought back and had “mistaken Maddox for a South Vietnamese escort vessel,” according to a report. (Later investigations showed *the attack never happened*.)

            Who have to learn from their own history?? 🤔

          • Who lied through the teeth to start a war and costed million of lives??

            -> ” … It was my first day in Baghdad, sent to photograph life in Iraq, to follow UN inspectors as they *failed each day to find so-called weapons of mass destruction*, and to wait for the *looming US-led war*.”

            The rest, as they say, is history.


          • China scholar Jerome Cohen recalls how he got the US government to admit John Downey was a spy, leading China to free him. It shows the folly of lying, he says.

            -> You mean our government has been lying to us about the case all these years?
            J. William Fulbright, US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations chairman, to Cohen after his testimony Downey was a CIA spy

            -> Ignoring the persuasive evidence produced by the PRC’s Supreme People’s Court, the US government denied any CIA involvement and issued a preposterous story that the defendants had been civilian employees of the army on a flight from South Korea to Japan and that a storm had blown them off course into China.
            The US government maintained this false position for almost two decades, despite frustrating the possi­bility that Sino-American negotiations might lead to the American prisoners’ release.
            Under the influence of the Dulles brothers – Allen as CIA director and John Foster as secretary of state – in 1957, the US government even rejected the Chinese government’s offer to release all of its American prisoners, if American journalists were allowed to visit China.
            Maintaining the pretence that the detained Americans were innocent hostages whom the godless Chinese Communists had subjected to arbitrary punishment, Secretary Dulles, a leading Christian layman, claimed that succumbing to PRC blandishments would be “trafficking with evil” and “yielding to blackmail”. So Downey and Fecteau were left to rot in prison for many more years.


    • -> The community is also nervous that their balloons could be shot down next. Medlin says one of his balloons—call sign W5KUB-112—is projected by HYSPLIT to enter U.S. airspace on Feb. 17.

      It already circumnavigated the globe several times, but its trajectory last carried the object over China before it will enter either Mexican or U.S. airspace.

      “I hope,” Medlin said, “that in the next few days when that happens we’re not real trigger-happy and start shooting down everything.”

  11. TransWorld’s comment way upthread is 100% correct:
    China and Russia- the former with most of the world’s
    productive capacities- delivered there by our friendly rulers here in the West- and the latter, with much or most of the world’s readily available energy and other natural resources- are clearly
    On the Run, and will clearly be collapsing any day now.


    • When you get old enough you begin to see that all things have ebbs as well as surges.

      I would rather be US than them.

  12. The commenter above’s claims or worries about China’s “misbehavior” are interesting. Who will be deciding what is
    misbehavior? The profoundly ethical West ? 😉

    I am interested to see which large entity needs the other(s) more.

    • I had friends who visited China, they sure did not want to live there.

      The American Japanese US citizens in WWII can tell you, yes it can happen. Its not the norm and its gotten better.

      But you are wrong to imply perfect, nothing is ever perfect. But I know where its better and can get better.

      The US is far from perfect and has come from an even less perfect background. The difference is we can say that and not wind up in a prison system.

      Compared to Nazi Germany?

      • Your comments are so unfocused and full of nonsequiturs (tthree of the latter, in this one alone)- when your grammar is even comprehensible- that I cannot fairly respond. Stand on a particaular, clear point if you want to communicate with me.

    • Misbehavior = my friends did not want to live there??

      Interesting. How come I had never thought of that? 😂

      • Actually part of it was they never saw a bird the whole time they were there and it was an extensive tour.

        Well that an all the empty apartments and well, smog.

    • Hey it’s only a Trillion Dollars a Year! (I’m including DoE spending on Nuclear Weapons, which are curiously not part of the US DoD budget).

      I hear that Boeing KC-46A with its [ludicrous] Remote Vision System
      is almost almost almost ready, too, and that helps me sleep at night.

      • People in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Finland, Sweden, Norway Czech and Slovak Republics, Bulgaria (etc) are sleeping better at night.

        Some of the countries further away are getting nervous.

        • Reality has started to kick in (or they’re trying to backtrack):

          Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff saying the war will end in negotiations … it will be “very, very difficult” for Ukraine to expel all Russian forces from occupied territory.

    • “Bernie” = theatre. AOC = theatre. US national politics = theatre. That’s not the level where decisions are made; those mentioned are merely PR entities, selling a product on behalf
      of their higher-ups.

  13. In this quarters SEC 13-F Statement the insider’s insider Warren Buffett’s (Berkshire Hathaway) Chinese holdings were disclosed. Most notable was the sizeable cut in his Taiwan Semiconductor position, which was cut by 86.2%, from 60.06 million shares to just 8.293 million as of Dec 31. This is a big change for a stock which as of Sept 30 was not only a new position for Berkshire, but one which just made the company’s top 10 holdings with value of $4.1 billion as of Sept 30.

    Interpretation? He has been tipped that Taiwan where 85% of the world’s semiconductors are made will be a smoking ruin within two years. The pandemic didn’t do enough damage to the airline industry. You aint’ seen nothin’ yet.

    • 😂 Economic cycle! Chip cycle has peaked.

      Why don’t you focus on APPL (and many, many others)? Where its chips come from?? 🤣

      • -> TSMC cut its spending target by about 10% in 2022 to about $36 billion after the Biden administration slapped new restrictions on China’s access to critical technologies.

    • > Interpretation? He has been tipped that Taiwan where 85% of the world’s semiconductors are made will be a smoking ruin within two years. <

      I don't think that's going to happen, but we will see.
      Many of your comments are spot-on, though, so..

  14. Besides Airbus, which gouverment financed airplane manufacture was sucessful? And it`s propably that they were sucessful though they had gouverment money, not because of it.
    Airbus got really good, when politics became less a factor.

    I don`t see how China or Russia will build a competetive airplane without western suppliers.
    So whatever they do, without a GE, Pratt or RR engine, there`s no chance they can reach the same level as A320neo or B737Max.
    Even the C919 with the Leap seems to be a dog compared to Max and Neo.
    Basically any day the US can stop GE providing parts for the Leap to China and thus cancel the thing.

    If you think back how Airbus came in the market, they had smth new – a mid sized twin that nobody else had, a glass cockpit, fly by wire, the new trim tank, composite, etc.
    There was a technological edge,
    what does Comac has to show?

    A MD 80/90 remake in the ARJ21, with engines from the 80ies,
    and the C919, a lessor only with about 600 sales that`s not up to Neo and Max.

    I don`t see that working out.

    • Sash:

      Airbus did well from the beginning taking advantage of the fact that the aviation industry in Europe had design experience, tech was pretty static and they saw some opportunities.

      The A300 being the first. I flew one from Taiwan to the Philippines. Nice Aircraft, solid feel (unlike the DC-10 that felt like a formation of loose parts in mostly close formation). Latter I flew a 767 and it had that same solid feel (747 had the dutch roll that was unsettling)

      Airbus then took a swing at the single aisle market and it was a good take as it was the 737 and 727s they were competing against. That too was a success.

      Yes it was subsidized all to heck but the Governments kept hands off (other than sharing out the building sites) and they did very solid work. While I am no fan of Airbus control programing, the FBW was a great move. No they are not the same.

      Airbus has morphed into a more and more stand alone though they really should give up the government money. They don’t need it.

      The A350 proved once again they have good solid design capability and did an amazing job of converting a frame and skin aluminum concept into a CRFP.

      Yes I knew you could do it, I did not think you could do it and still get the benefits out of CRFP and they proved me wrong.

  15. Chairman of McKinsey Greater China:
    “If China’s GDP grows at a conservative 2% annually for the next 10 years, the total cumulative growth will be equal to India’s GDP today. If it grows at 5% it’ll be equal to India + Japan + Indonesia.”

    • Lets take Japan and GDP

      So, just ballpark, GDP same as China and China is spread out over 1.3 billion or so vs 125 million.

      A bit like comparing NY GDP to West Virginia. West Virginia is dirt poor. NY not so much.

      • “Lets take Japan and GDP
        So, just ballpark, GDP same as China …”

        Hah. Who’s kidding here? Pls double and triple check. Thx.

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