China’s COMAC says first delivery of C919 jet planned for 2021

Employees work on a China’s home-grown C919 passenger jet at Manufacturing and Final Assembly Center of state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corporation in Shanghai. (Reuters)
Updated 06 February 2018

China’s COMAC says first delivery of C919 jet planned for 2021

SINGAPORE: The Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China (COMAC) on Tuesday said it was aiming to make the first delivery of its C919 single-aisle jet in 2021, despite delays in flight testing.
Lu Zheng, COMAC’s deputy general manager of sales and marketing, told reporters on the sidelines of the Singapore Airshow that the company expected Chinese certification to take three to four years. COMAC also has been speaking to US authorities.
“It should not have any impact” on the delivery time to the jet’s launch customer, China Eastern Airlines, he said. “We’re striving for 2021.”
The C919, which hopes to compete with Boeing Co’s 737 and the Airbus SE A320, is a symbol of China’s civil aerospace ambitions and President Xi Jinping’s push to upgrade manufacturing capabilities.
There was an almost five month-gap between the C919’s first and second flight, far longer than that of other new aircraft, which had raised concerns that COMAC’s plans to deliver the aircraft were running behind schedule. The plane has since undergone multiple tests, including a long-distance flight.
Lu also said US and European certification to come after it wins approval from Chinese regulators. Europe’s aviation safety regulator has started the certification process, but its US counterpart has not, he said.
He described recent partnerships between Airbus and Bombardier, as well as Boeing and Embraer as “normal,” but said that they would affect the markets its C919 and ARJ21 planes want to compete in.
“It will have an impact but they’ve also been impacted by us,” he said. “We will work hard to become, from a follower, to be a competitor, and in future, if we have the opportunity, to become a leader. But it’s a long road.”
The company does not plan to announce any orders at the Singapore Airshow, he added. But it planned to speak to potential customers from Southeast Asia.
The company, which is also co-developing a new wide-body jetliner with Russia, said in a statement that it had asked engine makers for proposals to supply the C929 jet’s propulsion system on December 21.
Russian officials have said the two countries expect to develop their own engine for the project.


Japan’s households tighten purse strings as sales tax and typhoon hit

Updated 06 December 2019

Japan’s households tighten purse strings as sales tax and typhoon hit

  • Falls in factory output, jobs and retail add to fears of worsening slowdown after Tokyo unveils $122bn stimulus package

TOKYO: Japanese households cut their spending for the first time in almost a year in October as a sales tax hike prompted consumers to rein in expenses and natural disasters disrupted business.

Household spending dropped 5.1 percent in October from a year earlier, government data showed on Friday.

It is the first fall in household spending in 11 months and the biggest fall since March 2016 when spending fell by 5.3 percent. It was also weaker than the median forecast for a 3 percent decline.

That marked a sharp reversal from the 9.5 percent jump in September, the fastest growth on record as consumers rushed to buy goods before the Oct. 1 sales tax hike from 8 percent to 10 percent.

“Not only is the sales tax hike hurting consumer spending but impacts from the typhoon also accelerated the decline in the spending,” said Taro Saito, executive research fellow at NLI Research Institute.

“We expect the economy overall and consumer spending will contract in the current quarter and then moderately pick up January-March, but such recovery won't be strong enough.”

Household spending fell by 4.6 percent in April 2014 when Japan last raised the sales tax to 8 percent from 5 percent. It took more than a year for the sector to return to growth.

Compared with the previous month, household spending fell 11.5 percent in October, the fastest drop since April 2014, a faster decline than the median 9.8 percent forecast.

Analysts said a powerful typhoon in October, which lashed swathes of Japan with heavy rain, also played a factor in the downbeat data. Some shops and restaurants closed during the storm and consumers stayed home.

Separate data also showed the weak state of the economy.

The index of coincident economic indicators, which consists of a range of data including factory output, employment and retail sales data, fell a preliminary 5.6 points to 94.8 in October from the previous month, the lowest reading since February 2013, the Cabinet Office said on Friday.

It was also the fastest pace of decline since March 2011, according to the data.

Real wages adjusted for inflation, meanwhile, edged up for a second straight month in October, but the higher levy and weak global economy raise worries about the prospect for consumer spending and the overall economy.

While the government has sought to offset the hit to consumers through vouchers and tax breaks, there are fears the higher tax could hurt an economy already feeling the pinch from global pressures.

Japan unveiled a $122 billion fiscal package on Thursday to support stalling growth and as policymakers look to sustain activity beyond the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

A recent spate of weak data, such as exports and factory output, have raised worries about the risk of a sharper-than-expected slowdown. The economy grew by an annualized 0.2 percent in the third quarter, the weakest pace in a year.

Analysts expect the economy to shrink in the current quarter due to the sales tax hike.