Donald Trump is not happy with Boeing’s recent decision to build an enormous manufacturing facility near Shanghai. The tycoon has claimed that the move “will take a tremendous amount of jobs from the United States”. The decision was part of a US$ 38 billion mega-deal that was announced on 23 September, where the world’s largest aviation company will sell 300 of its iconic 737-series jets.
Perhaps Trump, and the rest of America’s absurdly large coterie of presidential candidates, should consider just how much longer China will be interested in buying American-made airplanes. Boeing signed the deal in partnership with the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), the country’s state-owned manufacturer.
Currently Boeing and its fierce rival Airbus claim nearly equivalent market share for the Chinese aviation market, which the company believes may require over 6,000 new planes in the next twenty years. In a recent CNBC interview, a senior industry veteran commented that COMAC would most likely soon be in position to become a genuine competitor for today’s industry giants.
COMAC is already building its own airplanes, with its mid-sized C919 aircraft intended to compete with the 737 and the Airbus A320. COMAC has already won 400 orders, including a recent deal to supply Thailand’s City Airways with 20 small- to medium-sized aircraft. Interestingly, City Airways was denied landing rights at Bangkok’s main airport last year after a flight to Hong Kong was cancelled when one of the airline’s directors went on holiday instead of responding to a documentation request from Thai authorities.