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China’s Showcase Aircrafts at Paris Air Show


China's commercial aviation industry is being showcased this week at the Paris Air Show in France. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from the French capital on efforts to promote the country's aircraft manufacturing industry and to meet the rapid growth of commercial air travel in China.

It's been a busy week at the Paris Air Show exhibition stage of China's state-run Aviation Industry Corporation known as AVIC 1. Potential customers want to see and hear more about the company's medium and short-range commercial aircraft. For the first time the company is marketing several advanced regional jets that are under development.

Ji Hongsheng, a Senior Engineer at AVIC 1, says the company wants to build more planes for China's growing number of air travelers and increase exports of its commercial aircraft worldwide. "The aviation market in China is big and we must concentrate on our research and design. Our first step is to satisfy our customers in China and then we will expand our markets in Africa and in Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia."

AVIC 1 has had big success with its MA-60 Turbo-prop plane built in Xian. The 50 to 60-seat regional passenger plane is being flown by several small airlines in China, Africa, and the Middle East. Now the company is hoping its 70 to 90-seat jet planes will help Chinese airlines expand point to point passenger service especially in Western sections of the country. AVIC 1 has gotten 15 orders for the new jets from four Chinese airlines.

China's aircraft manufacturing industry is taking off at a time when more and more Chinese have the money to fly.

With the number rapidly growing, the big airline makers like Airbus and Boeing see China as a huge market to sell their planes. Earlier this year Boeing signed an agreement to sell its new 787 jetliner to six Chinese airlines. Randy Tinseth, is a marketing director with Boeing. "To Boeing long term that means the potential of a market of two thousand six hundred planes over the next 20 years now most of those aircraft requirements are for 737 type of aircraft so we are working very hard with the airlines in China to ensure that we can meet that demand over the next 20 years."

While Boeing will build planes for Chinese airlines, the company announced plans at the Paris Air Show to spend 60 million dollars to purchase parts from Chinese companies for it's new 787 Dreamliner and for a new generation of 737 Jets.