China To Build Large Airliners

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China has announced it will form a company by March of this year to pursue its long-held ambition to build an indigenous large jet airliner. With the ARJ21, essentially a DC-9 updated with U.S.-made engines and avionics, ready to fly about the same time, and the recent creation of a capable front-line jet fighter, the country's government says it's ready to tackle the technological learning curve required to build a big people carrier. The government wants the aircraft to weigh at least 200,000 pounds and carry at least 150 people and has indicated that simply buying off-the-shelf technology will not cut it this time. "This would lift the country's competence in the global market as a slew of technical breakthroughs, especially in engine, materials and electronic equipment, were to be made," a story in TravelVideoTelevision said. Analysts say a new company will be formed from the merger of the civil aircraft divisions of the state-owned AVIC I and AVIC II aircraft companies, which also make military aircraft. Russia's Antonov design bureau is also mentioned as being part of the development effort but there's no word of Boeing or Airbus being involved. China has been working on a way to build its own large jetliners since last February.