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Alabama Aerospace Expert weighs impact of China unveiling passenger jet to compete with Boeing, Airbus

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HUNTSVILLE, AL-- Earlier this week, China unveiled its first domestically-produced large passenger jet. It's the country's answer to American-made Boeing and Airbus passenger aircraft.

China is making moves in its quest to be known as a major player in aircraft manufacturing.

" It was a little surprising. We knew they were working on it, but it was kind of interesting to see it released and rolled out earlier this week," said Executive Director of Alabama Aerospace Industry Association.

The 158-seat C 919 is China's effort to compete in the lucrative business currently dominated by Boeing and Airbus; both have large presences in Alabama.

Thompson says this new competition will impact the market here in the U.S.,  but not for some time. That's because we currently supply a large amount of aerospace parts to China.

"Building an airliner, an aircraft, is not a simple thing. I'm sure they'll continue to work on it for a few years. So, in the short-term, I don't see much of an impact. But long-term, China is going to sell to China," believes Thompson.

Still, Thompson says the aerospace industry will continue to boom here in Alabama and grow around the world.

"If you look at the fleets flying around the world, a lot of them are aging. And they'll continue to age with every day; and then you have air travel that's continuing to grow. There's lots of opportunities there. So I think, in Alabama and the U.S. in general, aircraft projections are still very strong," said Thompson.