Boeing’s Chinese plant delivers first plane – Global Times
By Shen Weiduo in Zhoushan Source:Global Times Published: 2018/12/15 19:14:30
Photo taken on December 15 shows a Boeing 737 MAX passenger airplane at the Boeing Zhoushan Completion and Delivery Center. Photo: Shen Weiduo/GT
US planemaker Boeing and its Chinese joint venture partner Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China（COMAC） announced the delivery of the first airplane, a 737 Max, to Air China from the new 737 Completion and Delivery Center in Zhoushan, East China’s Zhejiang Province on Saturday.
Boeing said the delivery “marks a new era in Boeing’s partnership with the Chinese aviation industry, as well as the growing importance of Chinese aviation market.”
The airplane delivered from Zhoushan was built at Boeing’s 737 factory in Renton, Washington, and then flown to China for interior installation, paint, customer activity and delivery.
“It is the first time that Boeing expanded part of its 737 production system out of the US,” said Marc Allen, President of Boeing International, when introducing the Zhoushan project on Saturday
The facility has been built in partnership with the Zhejiang provincial and Zhoushan municipal governments and will become fully operational in phases as capacity is expanded over time.
The Chicago-based planemaker aims to deliver 100 of the 737 narrow-body jets per year from the Zhoushan Center in 2019. All airplanes delivered from the facility will be 737 MAXs destined for Chinese airlines.
Industry analysts said that the delivery, which comes after a 90-day trade truce was reached between China and the US earlier this month, shows the two countries’ heavy reliance on each other in the aviation sector, and the US company’s commitment to the Chinese market.
Wang Yanan, deputy editor-in-chief at Aerospace Knowledge magazine, told the Global Times on Saturday that the two have an indispensable relationship with each other in the aviation industry chain, and the dependence will only be stronger over time.
China is the major supplier of Boeing’s components and parts, and China is also of great significance to the US company in terms of its market size, Wang said.
Over 10,000 Boeing aircraft flying around the world have used parts and components made in China and Chinese firms have participated in the manufacturing of all Boeing’s aircraft types, including the 737, 747, 767, 777 and the most innovative Boeing 787 Dreamliner, according to Boeing.
Meanwhile, eyeing the world’s fastest growing aviation market that is on course to become the largest commercial aviation market in the world, Boeing has also been expanding its foothold in hopes of grabbing a bigger share in Chinese market in coming years.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said in its 20-Year Air Passenger Forecast that China will become the world’s largest aviation market in the mid-2020s.
And China accounted for about 13 percent of Boeing’s revenue last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
“Boeing’s Zhoushan project will only be a part of its long-term plan in China,” Wang said, adding that it is possible that the US planemaker will expand the function of Zhoushan Center in the future.
Wang said although some local planmakers, such as COMAC, are seen as rising competitors of the US giant, “we still have much to learn from Boeing, which has years of experience and a long term vision of its global strategy.”