Air China announced that it has reached an agreement with aircraft manufacturer COMAC to acquire 11 ARJ21 regional jets and six C919s, the most advanced commercial aircraft ever developed in China.
The aircraft are expected to be delivered between 2024 and 2025, Air China said in a statement sent to the stock exchange.
The agreement reached US$1.07 billion in list prices, but the two companies agreed to settle at lower values.
According to Chinese media, COMAC increased the list price of the C919, previously priced at US$99 million, and now costing US$108 million.
The price brings the aircraft closer to the price range charged by Airbus for the A320neo, its direct rival. According to the South China Morning Post, the European manufacturer sets prices between US$105 million and US$136 million for its commercial jet.
Call for more orders
One of the arguments in favor of the C919 would be precisely its lower price than Western aircraft such as the A320neo and the Boeing 737 MAX.
But last week, COMAC general manager Zhou Xinmin called for greater government support to encourage Chinese airlines to order more homegrown planes.
The ARJ21, whose list price is US$38 million, is the first Chinese commercial aircraft and has expanded its presence in the market, in addition to having an external customer, TransNusa, from Indonesia.
The C919, however, is the big bet as the aircraft offers a passenger capacity of between 160 and 190 seats, where there is huge demand.
For now, there are only three of these aircraft in service, all with China Eastern Airlines, which has 105 firm orders.