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商业 - 航空和运输

中国商飞起飞难:交货一再延迟

Scott Cendrowski 2016年02月19日

中国商飞早前的雄心壮志大多落空,一再推迟交货也打消了竞争对手的好奇心。按目前计划,首飞至少要等到2016年年末,比原定计划推迟了两年,向航空公司交付的时间也推迟到2018年。

不久以前,还有人会以为中国飞机制造商本可能在这周揭幕的新加坡航展上成为引人瞩目的焦点,如同美国高中校友返校日的“皇后”巡视橄榄球校队一样大出风头。

六年前,中国商用飞机有限责任公司(下称中国商飞)让全球航空业体会到既期望又畏惧的感觉,最后剩下的是好奇。他们所有的复杂情绪归结为一个问题:在紧凑的时间日程内,这家中国国有企业能否生产出一架效率堪比波音和空客同类机型的飞机。2010年,中国商飞称,两年前开始研制的158座双引擎窄体飞机准备于2014年首飞,2016年交付航空公司。

本周,中国商飞再次亮相新加坡航展。在这次展会上,波音、空客等各国航空企业都在讨论,尽管经济下滑形势严峻,中国航空业仍然迅猛发展。波音预计,未来二十年中国的航空公司将斥资近1万亿美元购买超过6300架新飞机,比三年前的预测多700架。这也是中国政府成立中国商飞的一大原因。

可惜,中国商飞早前的雄心壮志大多落空,一再推迟交货也打消了竞争对手的好奇心。中国商飞的一些供应商表示,按目前计划,首飞至少要等到2016年年末,比原定计划推迟了两年,向航空公司交付的时间也推迟到2018年。但航空杂志Aviation Week报道,实际交货时间很可能是2019年或者2020年。

波音787梦想飞机和空客A380超大型客机也曾备受延期交货影响。波音787首批订单的交货时间较原定计划推迟了三年。交货延迟和成本超出预算都是现代航空业的特点。

可更令人担心的是,中国商飞的C919一面世就可能遭遇滑铁卢。

C919设计时的总重量就不比波音和空客的同等机型轻。Aviation Week报道称,首架组装的C919整机比预期还要重。C919的引擎由通用电气与法国赛峰集团合资企业CFM制造。两年前《财富》杂志在介绍中国商飞时提到,预计此引擎在竞争中占不了多少优势。

这意味着,有可能等到2020年交货时,C919将面临更残酷的竞争,因为届时波音与空客将推出旗下最畅销机型波音737和空客a320的最新升级版。

现在中国商飞的客户仅限于国内航空公司,大多是国有企业,在采购飞机方面没有多少选择余地。但C919不但延迟出货,燃油效率也不及预期,最后采购该机型的航空公司会陷入两难。因为航空公司一方面希望通过支持国产飞机迎合政府,另一方面也希望运营真正有竞争力的飞机以提升利润,也是为了满足政府的期望。

因此,中国商飞会在新加坡避开镜头和人群,竞争对手的讨论也会降温,除非传出比继续延期交付更劲爆的消息。(财富中文网)

译者:Pessy

校对:夏林

There was a time not too long ago when a Chinese airplane manufacturer could capture the attention of this week’s Singapore Air Show like a homecoming queen strolling past the football team.

The aviation world’s hopes, fears, and ultimate curiosity six years ago rested with the question of whether China’s state-owned manufacturer, called the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China but known to insiders simply as Comac, would meet a brisk timeline for building a plane that could match the efficiency of similar Boeing BA 3.65% and Airbus EADSY 4.80% models. In 2010, Comac said the 158-seat narrow-body twin-engine plane it had announced only two years earlier would be ready for its first flight in 2014 and deliveries to airlines in 2016.

Comac is again attending the Singapore show this week where executives from Boeing, Airbus and other global players are talking about the colossal growth of air travel in China, economic slowdown be damned. Boeing says China’s carriers will spend nearly $1 trillion on more than 6,300 new planes over the next two decades. That’s 700 more than Boeing estimated just three years ago and a large reason why China’s government created Comac.

But Comac today is missing much of its earlier swagger and curiosity from competitors has given way to the realities of delays. Some of the plane’s suppliers say its first flight is now scheduled at least two years late, for the end of 2016. Comac has also delayed the delivery date to airlines to 2018 but Aviation Week reports the timeframe is closer to 2019 or 2020.

Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner and Airbus’s A380 superjumbo infamously suffered from delays too. The first airline received their Boeing order three years later than expected. Delays and cost overruns are a part of modern aviation.

But the bigger worry for Comac is that its plane, the C919, will be dead on arrival.

The C919’s total weight wasn’t planned to be lighter than comparable Boeings or Airbuses, and Aviation Week says the first assembled plane is heavier than forecast. The efficiency of the engines, produced by a GE GE 2.16% joint venture with France’s Safran SAFRY 3.68% called CFM, was not forecast to be better than the competition either, as Fortune wrote when it profiled Comac two years ago.

That means after the delayed delivery, maybe in 2020, the C919 will face even stiffer competition from Boeing and Airbus when they roll out new variants of their world’s best-selling planes in the 737 and a320.

Comac’s only customers for now are Chinese airlines, most state-owned, who don’t have much choice in the matter. But a delayed C919 with worse-than-expected fuel efficiency would create a dilemma for China carriers who want to appease the government with purchases but also fly competitive aircraft to earn the highest profit to, again, appease the government.

So Comac is staying away from the cameras and crowds in Singapore, and competitors are talking less about it, until it has more exciting things to discuss than further delays.

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