Zhoushan - One of every four aircraft produced in Boeing factories goes to Chinese airlines. Today, Boeing delivered the first 737 MAX to Air China from its new completion and delivery center in Zhoushan.
Boeing's first completion and delivery center in China underlines the commitment of the American aircraft manufacturer to this market.
Boeing and its Chinese partner COMAC plan to complete and deliver 100, 737 MAX per year. The MAXs produced in the Renton factory will receive interior cabin components and painting in Zhoushan. However, the first 737 MAX delivered from the center, was painted in the US.
Zhoushan facility will allow Boeing to ramp up its 737 production to 57 aircraft per month in 2019 from the current 52.
Boeing received the first aircraft order from China in 1972. The American manufacturer delivered around 2000 aircraft to the Chinese airline operators since then. Boeing foresees a market for 7,700 commercial planes in China over the next 20 years, which worth 1,2 trillion USD.
Boeing also considers China as potentially the largest market for the manufacturer's upcoming new mid-size aircraft Boeing 797. The manufacturer plans to close the gap between 737 MAX and 787 with the new aircraft. Its optimized passenger capacity and flight range perfectly fits with the needs of Chinese carriers, especially on domestic routes.
The new completion and delivery center in Zhoushan, will be only the first step towards more industrial visibility of Boeing in China in the coming years.
But Boeing’s strong position in China is getting more and more at risk by Airbus’s substantial investments in the country in addition to the ongoing trade wars between the United States and China.
The rival Airbus has a final assembly line for the A320 program in Tianjin since 2008. The European manufacturer plans to increase its production from the current four to six aircraft by 2020. Airbus also has a completion and delivery center in Tianjin for the A330.
Airbus is almost head to head with Boeing in China. Chinese carriers operate around 1,670 aircraft from Boeing against the 1,598 from Airbus.