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  • Comac: Tight lipped
    Posted by Bradley Perrett 3:29 PM on Nov 18, 2010

    There's an old rule in journalism that reporters should write about news, not about the work of reporters (such as how much fun or misery they had in getting a story).

    But very occasionally the process of getting the news offers insight into the news.

    That's the case with Comac, the Chinese state company that seeks to compete with Airbus and Boeing by developing a 156 seat airliner, the C919.

    Comac is not very good at getting its message across. Chinese reporters as well as foreign ones find that the company likes to make announcements but not answer questions. When it deals with reporters, it prefers what the more gutsy Chinese reporters sneeringly call "obedient" media--the organizations that are close to the government and are used to stenographically recording and repeating the official line.

    That will not help Comac to sell commercial aircraft to the world. Credibility and depth are important parts of communication.

    So at Airshow China in Zhuhai this week, for example, Comac invited only obedient media to the ceremony in which letters of intent for the C919's first orders were announced. It did not entertain questions.

    We should not exaggerate the importance of this, however. Comac's chief aim is to engineer an excellent airliner. Marketing and communications are secondary.

    Moreover, it has revealed some interesting information about the C919, which we will report and analyse at length on the Aviation Week Intelligence Network and in Aviation Week & Space Technology.

    Tags: tw99, zhu10, Comac, C919

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