Chinese Aviation Bid Threatens Airbus And Boeing

FILE PHOTO: A Bombardier logo is seen at the Bombardier plant in Belfast, Northern Ireland January 26, 2018. (Photo: REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne/File Photo)

Bombardier, a Canadian company, announced their plan to sell its subdivision in Belfast, Ireland, and Morocco. Two Chinese government-backed organizations, The Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) and the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) participated in the bidding of the assets. The possibility that China scores the bid risks the dominance of Airbus and Boeing over aircraft manufacturing.

The sale of the assets is part of the company's plan to further consolidate aerospace activities into Bombardier Aviation. The Chinese company's plan to purchase attracted attention since Bombardier's Belfast facility builds the composite wings for the Airbus A220, also known as the C Series aircraft. According to some critics, the purchase will help China advance its own aviation agenda after they gain control of the premier technologically advanced manufacturing facility.

Airbus is also expected to compete on a bid for the assets. Airbus and Bombardier had an existing joint venture on the development of the A220 series aircraft.

One of the main goals of China is to build its own commercial airplanes. China, through its government-backed groups, is working towards the manufacture of their own aircraft that can eventually replace its competitors as it splits the duopoly in the global aviation market.

China's COMAC built the C919 aircraft that was criticized as a copycat of an Airbus plane. The plane, however, is unsuccessful because it is said to be inferior to those built by established aircraft manufacturers.

China is working to be a dominant player in the aircraft manufacturing industry. COMAC signed partnership agreements with many aviation companies to develop its own planes. Chinese firms are known for their patience as they also play the long game. It is expected that China's aviation industry will proper through partnership research and technology transfer.

 Recently, Airbus built an assembly plant for its Airbus A320 in China. The plant is in charge of the final assembly of some of the aircraft. The new facility trained Chinese workers with technical hands-on experience in handling complex and intricate parts of the manufacturing of the aircraft. Boeing also opened its own facility in China for its Boeing 737 MAX aircraft that will handle less intensive manufacturing process.

It is expected that the experiences of the Chinese workers in working with dominant aviation companies will refine their expertise which is essential in China's plan to build its own commercial planes. China's methods of developing its own aviation industry are being criticized by Western nations as fraudulent and they are accusing the nation that it is stealing trade secrets from foreign firms operating in the country.

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