Back in September, more than 30 colleagues of GE Aviation from Shanghai, Suzhou, Beijing, Xi’an, and Taiwan gathered in Shanghai to celebrate GE Aviation’s 100th Anniversary and visit China Eastern Airlines (CEA) and Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) as part of the 100 Flights program. The idea behind 100 Flights was to enable employees who usually work behind the scenes to meet some loyal customers in person, tour their facilities, and experience the growth of GE Aviation. It turned out to be a prime opportunity for our team members in China to see how customers do indeed determine our success.
The group began its tour with a visit to the CEA Technology Application R&D Center in Shanghai. GE’s relationship with CEA has passed the 30-year mark, and the center is a great demonstration of the development of China’s civil aviation industry—a hub that contains modern training facilities, equipment, and professional trainers that has served as the site of many in-depth, cooperative projects. Under the guidance of instructors, GE employees got to experience a variety of emergency situations, including an emergency evacuation.
On the second day, the team visited COMAC’s assembly workshop for the C919 and ARJ21, where they were greeted by the slogan “Never Give Up,” inscribed on a stone tablet near the base of a Shanghai Y-10 jet airliner. The ARJ21 is powered by GE’s CF34-10A engine (there are currently 22 in service) and the CFM LEAP-1C (a joint venture between GE and Safran Aircraft Engines) has been chosen as the sole Western power plant for the C919. (China is in the process of developing its own power plant but its delivery is still a few years off.) It was rewarding for the group to see engines they’ve helped design mated to airframes developed and built in their home country.
Recalling the history of GE Aviation over the past 100 years and witnessing the great advances that our Chinese customers have made filled the 100 Flights group with enormous pride. Everyone on the trip felt like they’d made a tangible connection to GE’s and CEA’s shared history and purpose. As one participant put it, “We will continue to work with customers to chase our aviation dreams by inventing the future of flight, lifting people up and bringing them home safely!”