SHANGHAI, April 27 Chinese and European aviation
regulators said on Thursday they will forge closer ties over
aircraft manufacturing and certification as the global industry
turns its eyes to China ahead of the maiden flight of the
Chinese-built C919 jet.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) and
European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) are holding a landmark
meeting on aviation in Shanghai as China's government pushes for
a bigger role in the global aviation market.
The first flight in May of the C919 jet, built by Commercial
Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC), will mark a major step for
Beijing. The government hopes the jet will compete with Boeing
Co and Airbus SE for a slice of global jet sales
worth $2 trillion over the next 20 years.
A big hurdle, though, is that Europe and the United States
have yet to certify a domestically built Chinese passenger plane
and do not currently recognise Chinese certification procedures,
limiting the countries to which China can sell its planes.
"The ever closer ties between the Chinese and European
aviation industries have created good conditions and a solid
foundation to deepen cooperation on aircraft manufacturing and
certification," CAAC administrator Feng Zhenglin said.
Another CAAC official said closer ties would "increase the
global influence and competitiveness of Chinese aviation".
The meeting between CAAC and EASA is the first since the two
signed an agreement in 2015 to cooperate more closely on
aviation issues in a five-year project.
The ties have already yielded some results. EASA said on
Wednesday it had started the process of certification for the
C919, though no decision had yet been made.
China's first domestically made plane, the regional ARJ21
jet, has yet to receive U.S. Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) or EASA certification, which had raised questions over
whether the larger C919 jet would be approved in the West.
The Shanghai meeting will see a raft of global aviation
firms including COMAC, Airbus, Safran SA, Rolls-Royce
Holdings PLC and British Airways, part of International
Consolidated Airlines Group SA.
(Reporting by Jackie Cai and Brenda Goh; Writing by Adam
Jourdan; Editing by Christopher Cushing)