SHANGHAI, May 8 (Reuters) - China needs nearly $30 billion in investment to develop large commercial jets, which are scheduled for a maiden flight in 2014, state-owned CCTV said on Friday.
Beijing had made public an ambitious goal to manufacture large passenger jets with more than 150 seats and freighters capable of handling more than 100 tonnes of cargo to take on Boeing (BA.N) and Airbus EAD.PA EAD.DE.
“The project needs an investment of 30 billion yuan in the next three to five years with overall investment estimated at 200 billion yuan ($29.33 billion),” CCTV said, citing Zhang Qingwei, chairman of Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (CACC), which developed the large jet.
Zhang added that the government is funding less than a third of the upfront cost, with the remainder coming from various non-government sources. He did not specify Beijing’s overall input in the project.
CACC is 31 percent owned by the central government and 26 percent owned by the Shanghai municipal government, it said.
So far, the initial design of the jet, codenamed C919 has been completed but the CACC still needs to make major breakthroughs in engine technologies and advanced composite materials, the report said.
To make sure that the jet is available for delivery in 2016, CACC may use foreign-made engines to power the jet, it added.
China, meanwhile, has signed up a total of 208 orders for its first self-developed regional jet ARJ21, unveiled in late 2007. ($1=6.819 Yuan)
Reporting by Fang Yan and Jacqueline Wong