Chinese Aviation Industry


Xsizor

Captain
Registered Member
Large cabin private jets used to be a big business in China, but Xi Jinping's corruption crackdown from 2014 onwards hurt sales: it's not a great time for billionaires to be flaunting the ill-gotten bling . I understand that AVIC was very keen to develop CBJ, with detailed studies and customer outreach, but again this coincided with a changed market for private jets in China. For now I think the project is shelved. I'm sure it's been recorded in this forum already, but ARJ21 private jet version made an appearance at the last Zhuhai.
I made a small correction. China would not progress and its economic future would be under threat if there was an overall crackdown on wealth. I don't think such crackdowns ( which is quite good and is looked at positively in any country, irrespective of ideological inclination) will have a long term effect on the markets. Or one has to be firm with the assumption that ALL of China's wealthy potential Business Jet owners are crooks. China produces a lot of millionaires and billionaires still and one can make it because China is huge, China's startup scene is bright and government is promoting a lot of emerging industries and technology.
 

The Observer

Junior Member
Registered Member
It's a tiny Indonesian regional airline that shut down during the pandemic. Now it's trying to come back and is changing its business model into Low-cost carrier, but personally, I'm not too optimistic about its prospects. Unless it ran super cheap tickets, I expect it to just get run down by more established LCC carriers like AirAsia, Citilink, and Lion Air.
 

Xsizor

Captain
Registered Member
It's a tiny Indonesian regional airline that shut down during the pandemic. Now it's trying to come back and is changing its business model into Low-cost carrier, but personally, I'm not too optimistic about its prospects. Unless it ran super cheap tickets, I expect it to just get run down by more established LCC carriers like AirAsia, Citilink, and Lion Air.
I'm optimistic about the lessons and learning experience it can give to ARJ when in international Airline operations and competition. All international sales are good in that regard. Supporting a good MRO service outside mainland China is important not just for ARJ but for C919.
 

TerraN_EmpirE

Tyrant King
Was rereading some old stuff elsewhere when I stumbled on something I hadn’t seen before. A 2012 and then reports in Flight global and Aviation week in 2015 and 2016 for a concept by Chengdu for a super mid Buisness jet called the CBJ-800 Pegasus.
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It was supposed to start actual work in 2016 2017 with a 7-8 year timeframe which when you consider now about to start 2022 means it should be emerging in the next 3 years unless it was canceled. But I can’t seem to find more modern info.

I don't think this is going to materialize. Unlike military air planes in China, commercial/civilian aircrafts need publicity and advertising in order to sell. The absence of this aircraft in display model in 2021 Zhuhai air show may indicate that the project has been stopped.

ARJ-21B business jet for 20 passengers has better sales prospect, but there is no buyer yet. It makes me wonder is there a viable market for private business jet in China market?

ARJ21 is significantly larger than the CBJ800 was described. As to if there is a market. A number of Chinese CEOs and government agencies have needs and already own a good number of Business jets.
I am not quite happy with my response here but it feeds into what was then posted.
Large cabin private jets used to be a big business in China, but Xi Jinping's corruption crackdown from 2014 onwards hurt sales: it's not a great time for billionaires to be flaunting the bling. I understand that AVIC was very keen to develop CBJ, with detailed studies and customer outreach, but again this coincided with a changed market for private jets in China. For now I think the project is shelved. I'm sure it's been recorded in this forum already, but ARJ21 private jet version made an appearance at the last Zhuhai.

I made a small correction. China would not progress and its economic future would be under threat if there was an overall crackdown on wealth. I don't think such crackdowns ( which is quite good and is looked at positively in any country, irrespective of ideological inclination) will have a long term effect on the markets. Or one has to be firm with the assumption that ALL of China's wealthy potential Business Jet owners are crooks. China produces a lot of millionaires and billionaires still and one can make it because China is huge, China's startup scene is bright and government is promoting a lot of emerging industries and technology.
Okay Buisness jets have this major misconception. That being that they are a pure luxury. To a point it’s true. They don’t need super plush seats or state of the art entertainment systems. You could trim them down but then again if you need the utility it gives you there is no reason to skimp out.
What people forget is at same time there is a huge amount of utility to them for a highly technology oriented society.
Buisness jet or Courier aircraft overlap in function. They allow specialists the ability to get where they are needed without having to navigate the hub and spoke civil aviation. They often fly higher than civil aviation allowing them not to interfere with it. They are smaller and lighter then civil general aviation allowing for use of less common airports Potentially getting said specialist to locations potentially outside the normal destination system used by general civil aviation.
That could (and is more often) the CEO and executive team to a high stakes business meeting or an Engineer needed to fix a highly specialized machine in a remote region in a hurry.
They can be divided into various sizes from fast small courier craft to internationally range private airliners, in some cases literally an airliner.
Now CBJ-1/ARJ21B is in the latter category it’s designed for the CEO and Executive with all the trimmings.
Video tours the Comac ARJ21B Which is set up in a flying penthouse. Albeit smaller than “Trump Force One” not far removed with a State cabin, well appointed dining room and bar. However that is near the top of the roll.

The one I was asking about the CBJ-800 concept sat lower not as small as say a Honda Jet but in line with a G200 or Embraer Legacy 500. Which I think has more Utility and practical without the potential of Shaming. I mean it’s like comparing a Royal Train to a Minibus.
General Civil Aviation has taken steps to accommodate buisness clients particularly as they tend to be the costumer class who pays more to fly then the vast majority of coach customers. Most Civil Airlines make their profit off Business class not coach. This is as Buisness passengers tend to shop last minute for pop up flights to close last second deals.
The problem is that Buisness clients might not be able to make use of general civil aviation as Business and first class sections tend to be small, The civil aviation schedules are restrictive, security line tend to be long and again you tend to only have flights to select destinations that may be long distances from the buisness function. in the old days that meant long journeys by steamboat train or stage coach days or weeks long gaps. Once aviation became an option small prop planes began being looked at for such it wasn’t until the 1950s that it became practical but being able to Charter or utilize your own aircraft is an expensive advantage.
Father it need not be personal as they can also carry light volume high value cargo. In fact the first Business jets as we recognize them came from a USAF request for a light fast utility aircraft that could land at any airbase transporting personal or cargo.
Small Buisness jets like the Platus PC24 are used as air ambulances in some countries transporting patients in need of specialized care from remote regions.
 

Xsizor

Captain
Registered Member
Okay Buisness jets have this major misconception. That being that they are a pure luxury. To a point it’s true. They don’t need super plush seats or state of the art entertainment systems. You could trim them down but then again if you need the utility it gives you there is no reason to skimp out.
What people forget is at same time there is a huge amount of utility to them for a highly technology oriented society.
Buisness jet or Courier aircraft overlap in function. They allow specialists the ability to get where they are needed without having to navigate the hub and spoke civil aviation. They often fly higher than civil aviation allowing them not to interfere with it. They are smaller and lighter then civil general aviation allowing for use of less common airports Potentially getting said specialist to locations potentially outside the normal destination system used by general civil aviation.
That could (and is more often) the CEO and executive team to a high stakes business meeting or an Engineer needed to fix a highly specialized machine in a remote region in a hurry.
They can be divided into various sizes from fast small courier craft to internationally range private airliners, in some cases literally an airliner.
Now CBJ-1/ARJ21B is in the latter category it’s designed for the CEO and Executive with all the trimmings.
Video tours the Comac ARJ21B Which is set up in a flying penthouse. Albeit smaller than “Trump Force One” not far removed with a State cabin, well appointed dining room and bar. However that is near the top of the roll.

The one I was asking about the CBJ-800 concept sat lower not as small as say a Honda Jet but in line with a G200 or Embraer Legacy 500. Which I think has more Utility and practical without the potential of Shaming. I mean it’s like comparing a Royal Train to a Minibus.
General Civil Aviation has taken steps to accommodate buisness clients particularly as they tend to be the costumer class who pays more to fly then the vast majority of coach customers. Most Civil Airlines make their profit off Business class not coach. This is as Buisness passengers tend to shop last minute for pop up flights to close last second deals.
The problem is that Buisness clients might not be able to make use of general civil aviation as Business and first class sections tend to be small, The civil aviation schedules are restrictive, security line tend to be long and again you tend to only have flights to select destinations that may be long distances from the buisness function. in the old days that meant long journeys by steamboat train or stage coach days or weeks long gaps. Once aviation became an option small prop planes began being looked at for such it wasn’t until the 1950s that it became practical but being able to Charter or utilize your own aircraft is an expensive advantage.
Father it need not be personal as they can also carry light volume high value cargo. In fact the first Business jets as we recognize them came from a USAF request for a light fast utility aircraft that could land at any airbase transporting personal or cargo.
Small Buisness jets like the Platus PC24 are used as air ambulances in some countries transporting patients in need of specialized care from remote regions.
I don't think China is a "highly technology oriented society" ...yet. Sure, it has regions of high technology activity but as a whole, it isn't. So, the market for anything other than catering to those with the bling may not be there in the immediate term. You may look at the number of Chinese civilian helicopters ( Doesn't exceed 900) while US has like 9000.

A lot of it is due to cost of ownership, lack of skilled workforce ( Pilots, MRO) and even acquisition costs as civilian aviation hasn't become mature yet, necessitating to seek Airbus/Sikorsky/Gulfstream. So, just betting huge on Business Jets and making a case for its application in wider economy seems not a good take. Sure, if after a decade or so China's economy and per capita income breaks through the 25,000 dollar figure.
 

TerraN_EmpirE

Tyrant King
don't think China is a "highly technology oriented society" ...yet. Sure, it has regions of high technology activity but as a whole, it isn't. So, the market for anything other than catering to those with the bling may not be there in the immediate term. You may look at the number of Chinese civilian helicopters ( Doesn't exceed 900) while US has like 9000.
By “Highly Technology oriented Society” I mean any developed nation including China. Those whom I wouldn’t count are states like Afghanistan. Yes China has regions with reduced levels of Development yet so do other highly developed countries. Alaska in the US for example.
Next This class of Aviation is and will remain highly specialized and expensive yet for those whom have access to the resources an essential. Even on the pre capital era Mao had a private Jet as did the Russian leadership. I point back to the first Buisness Jets the Lockheed Jet star and North American Sabreliner both were developed for military requirements first then Sold commercially. The pilots of said aircraft rarely own the Aircraft it’s either a charter airline, Private or owned by a corporate enterprise.
 

Xsizor

Captain
Registered Member
By “Highly Technology oriented Society” I mean any developed nation including China. Those whom I wouldn’t count are states like Afghanistan. Yes China has regions with reduced levels of Development yet so do other highly developed countries. Alaska in the US for example.
Next This class of Aviation is and will remain highly specialized and expensive yet for those whom have access to the resources an essential. Even on the pre capital era Mao had a private Jet as did the Russian leadership. I point back to the first Buisness Jets the Lockheed Jet star and North American Sabreliner both were developed for military requirements first then Sold commercially. The pilots of said aircraft rarely own the Aircraft it’s either a charter airline, Private or owned by a corporate enterprise.
Charter Airlines will exist only if there is enough demand. I don't get your insistence that China is "developed". China is not a developed country. Still ways to go with 600 million living in poverty.
 

TerraN_EmpirE

Tyrant King
More developed than most of the world. The “Developing” term is used often for political purposes more than practical ones. Yes China has a huge economic disparity yet that doesn’t mean that this category of aviation is a flying saucer level of rare. The market already exists in China has for over a decade. As with General Civil Aviation, the CCP has a want to sino-fy. A quick search of YouTube will pull up a long list of “Business Jets China” reports going back over a decade.
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Now you can say, “But they will still import” to which I counter Comac 919, Made in China 2025 and Hongqi.
Comac 919 as many members endlessly point out is a joint venture with western firms and Western technology. Yes it’s clear that AVIC and Comac have an eastablised roadmap to indigenize the 919 more and more. It’s had issues as sanctions and trade disputes have bitten into its industrial base. Business jets are huge technology systems with major industrial exchange and more critical these days more and more duel role products. With strong supply chain links through the US, Canada and Britain. Three nations whom have placed degrees of sanctions on the CCP and PRC.
Made in China 2025, yeah that old 2015 initiative that seems in play when we hear about Chinese initiatives. It’s main goals we’re to shift Chinese market from low end low skill high volume low cost factory floor to low volume high skill high tech high price products, Aviation is that kind of market. Business jets exemplify that market. The aims to break sanctions and embargo as well as establish China as the premier source of luxury high end goods to at least a large portion of the World have been made clear. Which brings us to Hongqi, which I use as an example of what I think Comac wants to do.
FAW Hongqi is a car brand in China, its history is analogous to the Soviet Zil limousine. It started out and still to some degree is a car built on the bones of other car products. Hongqi However has progressed, moved from the government only limousine to an actual civil production and international sale of luxury vehicles in not just the Chinese market but Middle East and slowly Europe as well as other asian nations. In the China part of the shifts in products were to complete with existing super premium brands. Other parts it was fueled by a reaction as Chinese officials were sanctioned for use of import products.
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Since then Chinese makers have seen a rise in development of large luxury SUVs (Beijing BJ90, Hongqi LS5, LS7) and Sedans. As party affiliates in China choose the politically safer brands. IE You can own a luxury car just make sure it’s Chinese. It’s not a huge step to see the same thing in private aircraft.

As you @Xsizor point out there is a clear numerical advantage of the US to China here. The US has about 13,700 private jet aircraft. Not all are business jets some are demilitarized fighters and flight trainers thought that’s a small number. The numbers of private jets in China has been on the increase in 2019 it numbered 299 jets double its 2011 numbers. During the Pandemic this class of aircraft had a dramatic rise in popularity globally. The Well to do whom needed to travel found commercial aviation in bits and pieces well also not wanting to wait for hours in civil airports potentially being exposed to a constant mass spreader zone. Right now those who can afford business jets in the rest of the world are on long waitlist.
Maybe it’s different in China. However I think I have made my case that the PRC has a growing established private sector for business jets in the works with firms like Though lines like Deer Jet and private ownership. Primarily imported though some joint production, all of which has the problem of being directly connected to foreign military industrial base.
GulfStream the most popular line of business jets is owned by General Dynamics.
Dassault builds both French fighters and the Falcon series.
Embraer is heavily involved in military aviation as well as building its Legacy and Phenom series.
Cessna is part of Textron a huge American defense firm.
Bombardier and Honda are about the only ones not connected directly yet they use engines from military makers Rolls Royce and GE.

Maybe it was canceled maybe not. I can’t find either way right now wait and see. I do know that AVIC has clearly shown an interest in the segment. From CAIGA whom owns Cirrus a Duluth Mn based “Air Taxi” a single engine mini business jet maker,
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to a joint venture of Cessna Citation XLS+ Production in China
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To the ARJ21B. AVIC/CAIGA/COMAC as arms of the CCP clearly are moving into that wing of civil aviation.
 

ougoah

Brigadier
Registered Member

Turn on auto-translate to desired language if required, albeit translations are very iffy and poor overall.

This video kinda explains two main things that is relevant to the current discussion here.

1. China only relatively recently (in the last 20 years or so) classified aviation as "high tech". Of course it is high tech but what that means practically is the government has a list of industries they want to classify as high tech with the intention to achieve national self reliance and cultivate expertise within until it is refined enough to become competent in it and then competitive with others. "High tech" here means an industry that is to be pursued. Aviation was considered but space was put as priority for reasons relating to defence. Space is also easier than aviation. China having military aviation (in a way that is only recently beginning to become competitive with the west) doesn't quite encompass all of aviation.

2. There is finite resources and people even in China. Projects take priority over others. You cannot pursue everything at the same time. People often apply the poor logic here in other ways whenever it comes to China e.g. "China supposedly can land a rover on Mars but still uses Russian fire control radars on one of its Frigate classes?! Therefore they must be false claims since China cannot possibly perform Mars lander if they can't even make a small fire control radar". This sort of "logic" is often used on China while ignoring the fact that sometimes imported radar means little when domestic radars are the majority and increasing in numbers. The fact is there simply aren't enough engineers to work on everything that needs working on in an ideal world. Germany has great automotive engineers but do they have more to spare to develop their own battery tech, military radars, space programs, nuclear reactors, quantum computers, and everything in between in every industry?

ARJ21 and C919 have taken up a grand portion of AVIC's civilian aviation expertise and available resources. Yes just these two projects alone. There are plenty of serviceable routes to supply the country with any need for Business Jets. ARJ21, C919, and C929 are certainly much higher priority projects given their utility and the potential disruptions that can be created by the US. If there are no good alternatives to these major carriers, the US can undermine China's domestic transport connectivity hence productivity. These projects take decades to just complete and more time to refine. At least AVIC started "early" with these considering they could have left it till now to even begin. At least aviation finally made it on the list albeit late, better late than never.
 

by78

Lieutenant General
AG600 airframe No. 3 (1003) has finished assembly:
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Meanwhile, static test airframe 9008 has been handed over:
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