Recently certified by China’s civil aviation authority to operate commercial flights, the C919 single-aisle jet from Chinese state-owned manufacturer COMAC will be presented to the public during the Zhuhai Airshow, the largest aviation event in the Asian country, which takes place between the 8th and November 13.
The new Chinese commercial aircraft will make 15-minute aerial presentations on each of the six days of the event. The C919 can also be closely watched by the public in a static presentation.
It will be the second appearance of the COMAC jet at an aviation event in China. In November 2020, the C919 was unveiled at the Nanchang air convention, where it performed a flyby in front of the public.
Other highlights of the Chinese aeronautical industry in Zhuhai will be the presentation of the large amphibious aircraft AG600 and the military freighter Y-20, both produced by the state-owned manufacturer AVIC.
Chinese plane to Chinese market for now
Still unable to compete in the world market, COMAC’s main goal is to supply the Chinese air market, currently the second largest in the world and on its way to becoming the first, surpassing the US. In the future, the state-owned manufacturer may make China independent from the massive purchase of Western-made planes, as is currently the case.
The C919 is designed to compete in the same category as the traditional Airbus A320 and Boeing 737, the world’s best-selling commercial jets. According to data from the Chinese manufacturer, the jet has the capacity to carry up to 168 passengers and a flight range of around 4,000 km.
COMAC reports that it has 815 orders for the C919 from 28 different buyers, the majority being Chinese companies, but without differentiating firm orders from options and purchase intentions.
The launch customer for the new Chinese jet will be China Eastern Airlines, which is expected to receive the first aircraft later this year.
The Shanghai-based manufacturer aims to produce 2,000 C919 aircraft over the next 20 years to serve the domestic market. The goal seems bold, but it is entirely plausible for a reason: the Chinese government controls most of the country’s carriers and will require them to buy COMAC products, as is already happening with the ARJ21 regional jet.
It is not by chance that the state-owned company already has an order list almost three times larger than that of Embraer.