China Planning Engine Development

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China is planning to develop its own jet engines to power the commercial airliners and perhaps business jets it plans to build in coming years. Foreign investment in the $878 million venture is being capped at 30 percent, with state aircraft builder Aviation Industry Corp (AVIC) holding 40 percent and the remainder to be split between Shanghai Electric Group and an investment arm of the government. The announcement was made by the official Shanghai Securities News on Monday.

According to a Reuters report the first engine produced by the company will be aimed at the 150-seat airliner market, which is next on the aircraft company's development list. Engines for its developmental 70- to 100-seat ARJ21 regional jet, which is now in flight tests, are being supplied by General Electric. The Chinese report says AVIC is already working on larger airplanes, including a cargo version that can carry 220,000 pounds of freight. Design and testing of homegrown engines is expected to begin in 2010.