China: Jointly Built 100-Seat Jetliner To Be Ready by End of 2002
ZHUHAI, China (AP) _ A 100-seat jetliner that China plans to develop jointly with European and Singaporean partners in $1.7 billion project will be ready by the end of 2002, a Chinese official said Tuesday.
Wang Ang, executive vice president of China’s state-owned Aviation Industry General Corp. (AVIC), said the new Air Express 100′s first flight would be in 2001, and its first delivery would come one year later.
Wang made the announcement on the opening day of China’s largest international air show. The six-day show is being held at the new airport in the special economic zone of Zhuhai, next to the Portuguese enclave of Macau.
The company said it signed a memorandum this summer with a consortium that includes British Aerospace, Aerospatiale of France, Alenia of Italy and Singapore Technology to build a 100-seat jetliner for the booming Asian air travel market.
Zhu Yuli, AVIC’s president, said intensive discussion was continuing among the three parties, and he expected that a cooperation agreement would be signed by the end of the year.
AVIC says the Chinese company will have a stake of 46 percent, the European consortium 39 percent and the Singaporean partner 15 percent, with the final assembly line in China.
Aircraft makers foresee high demand into the next century for a medium-size regional jetliner in Asia, where air travel is growing at double-digit rates.
Chinese Premier Li Peng, who opened the air show, met Yves Michot, chairman of Aerospatiale, and said China was willing to expand cooperation with Europe on passenger planes, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
Michot told Li that France and Europe will discuss spare parts production with China and try to reach an agreement as soon as possible, Xinhua said.