* Confident can win more work on A320neo, 737 MAX
* Expects to sign COMAC deal by end-2012
By Rhys Jones
FARNBOROUGH, England, July 12 Britain's GKN Plc
is focused on winning more work in the single-aisle
aircraft market and is close to signing a major deal to supply
Chinese planemaker COMAC's C919 jet, its aero chief
said on Thursday.
GKN's recent $985 million purchase of Volvo AB's
aerospace division, which specialises in lightweight airframe
and engine components, will help it win more work on the next
generation of short-haul jets such as Airbus' A320neo
and Boeing Co's 737 Max, Marcus Bryson, chief executive
of GKN's aerospace unit, told Reuters at the Farnborough
"One of our problems has always been out lack of exposure on
the narrowbody planes ... but the big growth is in that
narrowbody market, so our thrust is to try and get more content
on those aircraft," said Bryson.
"We think there's a good chance we can get more content on
the A320neo and the 737 Max."
GKN, which makes airframes for Airbus and Boeing, does
significant work on larger jets such as Boeing's 787 and Airbus
A380 but has no content on the 737 Max.
Bryson said GKN was also close to winning a significant
contract on China's first homegrown single-aisle passenger jet.
COMAC has, so far, received around 280 orders for the C919.
"I'm hoping to have a formal agreement signed with COMAC by
the end of the year for a major piece of composite structure on
the C919," said Bryson.
Volvo Aero will take some 18 months to integrate into GKN's
aero unit, but will put it in a stronger position in both in
structures and on engines, he added.
The airshow has been relatively subdued, marked by a lack of
firm orders, with the majority of those placed being commitments
to buy planes at a later date. Bryson puts this down to a flurry
of large orders in recent years and an uncertain economic
"It has seemed low key - there's concern about world macro-
economic conditions, especially with regards to Europe. Also,
big orders go in waves and we had a huge wave last year with the
advent of the neo and the Max, which has settled down a bit
now," he said.