State-backed Commercial Aircraft Corp of China will change the face of the global aerospace industry if it succeeds in delivering its 174-seater C919 aircraft by 2016, said the chief executive of Europe’s largest low-cost airline.
Ryanair , which has over 300 Boeing 737 aircraft, is meeting regularly with COMAC executives, the Irish airline said the Chinese company was also talking about delivering a 200-seat aircraft by about 2018. “If they deliver a 199 or a 200 seat aircraft then it does not matter what Boeing do,” chief executive Michael O’Leary told an analyst conference. “We would be all over them like a rash.”
“If the C919 gets delivered by 2016 it totally changes the dynamic for aircraft manufacturers,” he said. “The Chinese will take a huge amount of orders away from Airbus and Boeing overnight which will create significant turmoil in the marketplace.”
In addition to COMAC, Ryanair is in talks with Boeing about aircraft orders and will meet executives from both the U.S. and Chinese groups later this month, Reuters reports.
While Boeing is pitching a re-engined version of its 737 single-aisle jet, O’Leary said he was sceptical.
“They have not yet designed the aircraft. They cannot tell us what the operating costs will be because it is not designed, they do not know where they are going to build it yet, they do not know when it is going to fly either,” he said.
“But they do assure us that they will be able to answer those questions by the end of November.”
Ryanair still has to take delivery of over 40 outstanding 737 aircraft and that plus flying some grounded aircraft should cover its requirements for the next few years. The airline raised its 2011 profit forecast on Monday.
“We would want to be taking some additional aircraft into (full-year) 2015, 2016,” O’Leary said.
“If we have COMAC coming then we might look at buying some second-hand aircraft or leasing some aircraft over a short period of time to take us into that or we might do a deal with Boeing or Airbus in advance of that.”