China’s C919 Jet Makes International Debut at Singapore Airshow

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China's rival to Airbus and Boeing's passenger planes, the narrowbody C919 produced by the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China.
China's rival to Airbus and Boeing's passenger planes, the narrowbody C919 produced by the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China.

China’s challenger to Airbus and Boeing’s passenger jets, the narrowbody C919 manufactured by the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), has made its first trip outside Chinese territory, staging a fly-by at the Singapore Airshow on Sunday.

Strategic Investment in Breaking Western Dominance:

China has invested heavily in trying to break the hold of the dominant two Western planemakers on the global passenger market.

China has indicated a push to advance the C919 and COMAC’s footprint domestically and internationally this year. The plane is only certified within China, and the first of four C919s began flying with China Eastern Airlines last year.

With Airbus and Boeing struggling to ramp up production and meet demand for new planes and Boeing struggling with a string of crises, the aviation industry is watching how COMAC positions itself as a viable alternative.

Significant Investment in Production Capacity Expansion:

In January, COMAC will invest tens of billions of yuan over the next 3-5 years to expand C919 production capacity, Chinese media reported a COMAC official saying.

China’s aviation authority said it would pursue European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) validation for the C919 this year, a process that began in 2018.

COMAC has two passenger products: the ARJ21 regional jet and the larger C919 twin-engine narrowbody airliner with 158-192 seats, which competes with the established Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX 8 models.

Growing Interest Despite Challenges:

Many inside the industry caution that only four C919s are in service in China; the plane is only certified by Chinese regulators, and the C919 relies on international supply chains.

However, the aviation industry-wide supply crunch, which is testing an expected full return and then the growth of civil capacity in Asia, is garnering COMAC more attention.

Potential Market Share and Delivery Forecast:

“We have also seen a growing trend where clients are including the C919 option in their fleet evaluation,” said Adam Cowburn of Alton Aviation Consultancy.

“With Airbus and Boeing narrowbodies in the A320neo and 737 MAX families sold out for most of this decade, the C919 has a strong opportunity to gain market share, particularly in its domestic market,” said Mike Yeomans of aviation consultancy IBA.

James Adam

James Adam, a noted business writer for CEO Times Magazine, specializes in insightful industry analysis and executive profiles. Known for his clear, concise style, James offers readers an expert perspective on global business trends and market dynamics.

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