Wed, 27 Sep 2023

CHARLESTON, South Carolina: During a media tour this week at Boeing's facilities in Charleston, South Carolina, company CEO Dave Calhoun said the maiden commercial flight of China's domestically produced C919 narrowbody jet does not foreshadow the end of the current monopolies held by the US company Boeing and European rival Airbus.

In a milestone for manufacturer Commercial Aviation Corp of China, China Eastern Airlines flew a C919 ferrying passengers from Shanghai to Beijing last week.

"The C919 is a good airplane, but it will take a long while for COMAC to build the production capacity needed to meet Chinese airlines' demand," Calhoun told reporters.

"Three providers in a growing global market of this size and scale should not be the most intimidating thought in the world. For us to get overly anxious about that, I think it's a silly prospect," he added.

Boeing should focus on existing competition and position itself to "win that technology race," Calhoun said, adding that China remains "our friend, our customer."

Earlier this year, Chinese airlines began re-deploying Boeing's 737 MAX, but deliveries of the jet have been stalled due to tensions between Washington and Beijing.

After two crashes in 2018 and 2019 that 346 people, in April the Chinese aviation regulator published a report on the 737, which was lauded by Calhoun as an "important step" for restarting MAX deliveries.

During discussions held at Boeing's facility for assembling the 787 Dreamliner, and several weeks before the company faces off against Airbus in competing for orders at the Paris Air Show, Calhoun said the US plane-maker could fend off threats, including rival offerings and supply-chain issues.

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