字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 - [Woman] (speaking in foreign language) - [Narrator] From airshow to test flights in extreme cold weather China state-owned aircraft manufacturer Comac has been ramping up the development of its C919 passenger jet to compete with Boeing and Airbus. - C919 is an important part of China's national development strategy - [Narrator] Though the project is years behind schedule, Beijing is moving ahead with big plans at a time when the Coronavirus has upended the aviation industry around the world. Last December Comac began the process of certifying the C919 for commercial operations. - The large economies have not recovered as quickly as China and therefore China's likely share of future commercial aviation growth is gonna be somewhat higher. - [Narrator] Eventually the government hopes the C919 will become the main carrier in the world's biggest commercial aviation market, but can it succeed? Chinese President Xi Jinping has had an aviation dream since he took office in 2012, to build the country's first commercial civilian airliner. - (in foreign language) - [Narrator] For the past two decades, Airbus and Boeing have benefited from China's fast-growing commercial aviation market. Airbus built an assembly plant in China in 2008. And before the pandemic, a quarter of all Boeing planes that came off the assembly line went to China, and the demand isn't going away anytime soon. According to Boeing's latest market outlook from this past October, it expects China to buy more than 8,400 new airplanes over the next 20 years with the market valued at a total of more than $1.7 trillion. - Is that very good economic reason for China to want to build its own aircraft. And that is so that it can fill that market and save a huge amount of it. - [Narrator] Timothy Heath is a defense researcher who's been studying China's national aviation strategy for more than 15 years. - [Timothy] The problem is that due to it's lack of experience, there's a very steep learning curve. - [Narrator] For instance, compared to Boeing's more than 100 years of experience, China started exploring commercial aviation in the 1970s. So to catch up the Chinese government has been focused on Comac, which was only established in 2008, according to the US think tank The Center for Strategic and International Studies since Comac's early days it has received somewhere between $49 and $72 billion in government aid, far more than the $22 billion that Airbus has received from European governments, according to the World Trade Organization. Heath says while support from Beijing has helped build successful homegrown companies and industries, including 5G and artificial intelligence. It'll take more than money to help the C919 take off. - The difference is that civilian airliner manufacturers is an order of magnitude more difficult then a cell phone technology and handheld consumer electronics. - [Narrator] That's because building a commercial aircraft requires hundreds of thousands of components. - Their individual components, which are ridiculously difficult to make because you have to make them perfectly. And they have to work at 35,000 feet in the air for hour upon hour, land, gas up, and do it again with no problems. - Scott Kennedy is a senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The non-profit policy research organization receives part of its funding from some governments and corporations including Boeing. Kennedy has been analyzing China's industrial policy for more than 25 years. - Most of the parts that the Chinese make are in the interior or for elements of the body or the doors. So the Chinese components are relevant to the plane but they're not central to the plane's ability to fly. - [Narrator] The more complex parts are imported. - [Scott] China depends almost entirely on the US and Europe for the components that go into the plane from the engine, to the avionics, to the materials, to most of what's inside the plane, even. - [Narrator] According to Kennedy's analysis only 14 key suppliers are from China and half of them are joint ventures with foreign companies. And these joint ventures are one important part of Comac's plans to advance technologically. - The Chinese have actually required a support suppliers to transfer technology in many cases. That means the Chinese are absorbing technology and they're learning how to make some of the components. - [Narrator] But for years, Western manufacturers have acted to protect their IP by only supplying old technology. - It's already an obsolete plane cause you've been using the oldest most out of date technology because the companies don't want to share and give away their most cutting edge, valuable technologies. - [Narrator] Still the Trump administration kept an eye on joint ventures, concerned that forced technology transfers could allow China to break into the global jet engine market and undermined US businesses. - Then a world of heightened diplomatic tensions that are growing more severe by the day. One has to question whether those diplomatic tensions could eventually bring a project like the C919 to a halt. - [Narrator] For instance, in early January the Trump administration added Comac to a list of companies it says support China's military. This blacklist could ban Americans from supplying the plane manufacturer. Comac didn't respond to a request for comment. It's uncertain how political tensions will change during the Biden administration. But Kennedy says the success of Comac will take longer than one presidential term. - Despite all of the state support and the history of China overcoming previous technological hurdles. I still think that we're no closer then a decade away from Comac being a serious competitor to Boeing or Airbus. - [Narrator] Until then China will need to rely on their jets. But when the C919 is ready it potentially has a guaranteed market at home since Beijing could order it's state-owned airlines to buy the plane in large numbers. According to Kennedy's analysis, Comac already had more than 1,000 orders by the end of 2020. - These orders have been on the books for a long time but those numbers on orders are really smoke and mirrors until they really can prove that they can deliver and service planes on a regular basis.