The crash of Air China’s Boeing 767 probably damaged not only the air carrier’s image (the airline has been considered one of the world’s safest until now) but also the image of the aircraft constructor, the Boeing corporation.
News agencies report that China’s second largest airline, China Eastern Airlines, decided to purchase twenty new airliners. Planes will be bought not from Boeing, but from the European Airbus. Thus, European aircraft constructors may force the US company out of today’s most profitable market.
Boeing has suffered great losses in the civil aviation market lately. America’s aircraft construction orders still fail to recover after the Sept. 11 tragedy. The Boeing 767 crash in South Korea added to the corporation’s problems.
Until recently, Boeing managed to hold two-thirds of China’s commercial transportation market. The Chinese authorities, which are the ones to approve of all purchases of new planes, were dissatisfied with the dependency. As a result, for the first time in five years, Airbus has a chance to conclude a contract with China.
China Eastern used to be Airbus’s main client in China: the airline’s fleet made up 43 airbuses. A prospective purchase of twenty more liners of A320 class may entail more orders, which will strengthen Airbus’s positions on the Chinese market.
Leadership of the European concern started making prospective plans as concerning the Chinese market long ago. In February 2002, Airbus Director General Noel Forgeard announced that the company had concluded provisional contracts on supplies of about 70 planes with several Chinese companies. First, the deals are to be approved by the Chinese authorities.
However, the European company will hardly manage to force Boeing out of the Chinese market completely. Beijing would not welcome Airbus dependency, as well as dependency on Boeing. China is more likely to change the preferences from one company to another, and both companies, American and European, are in for a strong competitive activity.
Oleg Artyukov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/04/18/39949.html