By Bernd Debusmann Jr
US-UAE Business Council president Danny Sebright said that he believes UAE firms will be increasingly active in the Chinese aerospace market
Chinese commercial aircraft manufacturers may one day pose “a challenge” for US and French aerospace companies, according to Danny Sebright, the president of the Washington-DC based US-UAE Business Council.
In China, several companies have expressed an interest in building commercial aircraft in a bid to lessen the country’s dependence on Boeing and Airbus. The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac) currently produces one plane – the ARJ21 – and has another narrow-body aircraft, the C919 that is due to start deliveries in 2021. The aircraft is designed to compete with the Boeing 737 Max and Airbus A320neo.
Speaking to Arabian Business on the sidelines of the Dubai Airshow, Sebright said that “once the Chinese finally develop a commercial airplane that is on par with the French and the Americans, there’s a challenge there”.
“Is that going to happen anytime soon? I don’t know,” he added. “Mubadala and others are going to be in the China market, in a partnership-supplier relationship. They’re going to have production and manufacturing with Strata and others on the ground to feed into the Chinese market.”
Sebright also said that he cannot speculate on when the Chinese can start competing with French and US manufacturers on a global level.
“I don’t know the answer to when those Chinese planes will be accepted in the broader market,” he added. “They are going to be accepted in the Chinese market…and that in itself is a huge market.”
Additionally, Sebright said that US-UAE business ties in the aerospace sector – which has seen well over $150 billion in deals over the last five years – has also created 700,000 jobs in the US.
“It’s a very deep relationship that has moved to the next level with Strata producing domestically here,” he said. “That’s what these guys want. That’s the future. I don’t know that they’ll make a commercial airplane here in 25 or 30 years, but they are increasingly going to be part of all the commercial sales made in the world.”
In July, Strata – which is owned by Mubadala Investment Company – announced plans to expand its manufacturing facilities to take on assembly of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner vertical fins.For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.