US and Europe have traditionally been the biggest air travel markets in the world. It is no surprise then, that US and European plane manufacturers are among the biggest players in the industry. But as the air travel industry in the Asia-Pacific region grows, the situation could change. “Over the next 20 years, for the Chinese market alone, we are forecasting an increase of 2,900 aircraft” Chen Jin Comac
Passenger numbers in the region are forecast to grow by 5.8% in the next two decades, according to Airbus, which will mean growing demand for planes to carry them. Airbus estimates that Asia will account for 33% of all aircraft orders in the next two decades, compared with a 26% share between 1990 and 2009.
While it harbours international ambitions, Comac is fully aware of the potential for growth on its home turf.
China is forecast to be the fastest-growing market for air travel by 2014, according to the International Air Transport Association.
Mr Chen told the BBC that the company had very clear priorities. "We are going to serve the China market first," Mr Chen said. "Over the next 20 years, for the Chinese market alone, we are forecasting an increase of 2,900 aircraft," he added.Comac's first customers have been the main Chinese carriers.
Last year, it announced that Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines and Hainan Airlines were the among six companies that had signed deals to buy the C919 planes.
The company said it had received orders for 100 aircraft.