Aero-engine manufacturer CFM International, which supplies the domestically manufactured C919 aircraft, said it is bullish on the Chinese market's growth potential, and hopes to have more cooperation with Chinese suppliers.
Currently, more than 20 percent of aircraft powered by CFM engines are in China, the company's second-largest market after the United States.
The company's engines currently in service and new engine orders in China total a combined 8,500, CFM said.
"China is a strategic market for CFM. We have a big team in Shanghai and we work closely with COMAC (the C919 manufacturer) every day. We find problems and solve them together, and the cooperation goes smoothly," said Gael Meheust, president and CEO of CFM International, in Beijing.
"Our relationship with the Chinese aviation industry goes back more than 30 years, since we entered the China market in 1985," he said.
CFM is a joint venture under the GE Aviation of the United States and France's Safran Aircraft Engines. Its parents each hold a 50 percent stake in the venture. They both invest $500 million in China annually by procuring CFM parts.
Safran operates multiple factories in China, including plants in Suzhou of Jiangsu province, Xi'an of Shaanxi province, and Guiyang of Guizhou province, and they produce some key engine components, such as low pressure turbines.
The French company plans to continue raising the capacity of its factory in Suzhou to meet the growing demand from the market.
In 2009, the Commercial Aircraft Corp of China chose LEAP engines to power the domestically developed single-aisle passenger jet C919. So far, the aircraft has completed multiple test flights, and it is expected to enter commercial use in 2021.
Meanwhile, the manufacturers of the CR929, a long-range wide-body aircraft co-developed by China and Russia, have issued a request for proposals for the aircraft's engines.
Engine makers Rolls-Royce and GE Aviation, among others, have joined the bid. The result will be announced at a later date, according to China-Russia Commercial Aircraft International Co Ltd, the aircraft's manufacturer.
By 2024, China is expected to become the largest civil aviation market globally, and its air transport volume will reach 1.3 billion passengers annually, outpacing the United States, the International Air Transport Association forecast.