Quality Magazine

GE and AVIC Providing Systems for China's First Large Commercial Aircraft

July 15, 2010

SHANGHAI - Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China Ltd. announced that GE Aviation Systems and AVIC Systems, the partners to a proposed AVIC GE joint venture, have been selected to provide the avionics core processing system, display system and on-board maintenance system for the newly launched C919 single-aisle aircraft. The AVIC GE joint venture will support COMAC for avionics integration for the C919.

The public signing of the Letter of Intent for the C919 avionics selection was attended by senior management from GE, AVIC and COMAC. AVIC and GE are forming the new joint venture company to develop and market integrated avionics systems to the global commercial aerospace industry, and in particular the avionics systems for the C919.

“China is the world’s fastest-growing aviation market and we need to ensure GE and the United States are part of this growth,” said John Rice, Vice Chairman of GE. “Our participation helps GE to grow high-tech jobs and capabilities, while serving the aviation market with the latest commercial technology. The C919 program will support hundreds of jobs in US, China and the UK.”

The C919 modular avionics system provided by the proposed AVIC GE joint venture will be the central information system and backbone of the airplane’s networks and electronics and will host the airplane’s avionics, maintenance and utility functions. The system replaces dozens of traditional, standalone computers fitted to aircraft flying today, benefitting in weight savings, improved reliability and reduced operating cost.

Zhang Xinguo, AVIC vice president, said: "We are building a long-term partnership through the joint venture and will provide the C919 with advanced commercial technologies and products for its avionics systems. Although this joint venture is based in China, we anticipate expanding our customer market to the U.S. and other global markets as we work together to achieve mutual business success."

“The C919 will be more advanced than current operating commercial air transport aircraft of the same size. It will use between 12% and 15% less fuel, and help reduce carbon emissions," said Zhang Qingwei, Chairman, Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China. "The GE AVIC open systems architecture avionics enables integration of third-party applications with high integrity and performance.”

With this announcement, the proposed AVIC GE joint venture becomes a key supplier for China’s first large commercial aircraft, including supporting COMAC for avionics integration.

“The immediate focus of our joint venture is to jointly offer the best, competitive solutions for the COMAC C919 and we are very happy with this successful outcome,” said Lorraine Bolsinger, president and CEO for GE Aviation Systems. “The C919 allows the joint venture to build upon our extensive open-architecture avionics capabilities and to provide our customers with some of the most advanced commercial technology in the world.”

GE Aviation and AVIC recently announced the agreement to form a new joint venture company to develop and market integrated avionics systems for commercial aircraft customers.

Jeff Immelt, chairman and CEO of GE and Lin Zuoming, president of AVIC, signed this framework agreement on November 15, 2009. Definitive documentation is being put in place with the goal of launching the proposed joint venture upon receipt of all required regulatory approvals. The new COMAC C919 150-passenger aircraft is scheduled to enter commercial service in 2016, with a global market forecast of more than 2,300 aircraft over 20 years.