Chinese HNA Group closes firm order for 60 COMAC C919 jets

Agreement also includes a Letter of Intent for 40 ARJ21 aircraft, with 90 seats

COMAC announced on April 28 a major contract for the acquisition of 60 C919 jets with the HNA Group, which controls several Chinese airlines.

The agreement also includes a Letter of Intent to acquire 40 ARJ21-700 regional jets. The aircraft will be passed on to companies such as Hainan Airlines and Urumqi Air.

The firm order for 60 C919s is the second official for the model, following an order for five aircraft closed by China Eastern Airlines.

Representatives of COMAC and HNA (COMAC)

There are hundreds of commitments, however, that should be carried out once the 168-seat jet actually starts operating.

This should take a little longer to occur, though. The only C919 delivered so far, to China Eastern, is conducting training flights that were due to be completed by the end of April.

COMAC jet launch customer, however, would have encountered problems with the aircraft during flights, which should prolong the testing phase.

China Eastern first C919 (CEA)

The C919 program is moving slowly and has a huge challenge ahead of it, to get around the growing tension between the governments of China and the United States.

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The C919 relies heavily on Western suppliers such as CFM, which produces the Leap-1C engines, and Collins Aerospace, responsible for various systems including the Chinese jet’s avionics.

The HNA Group had already signed a preliminary agreement with COMAC in 2018, when it announced its intention to order 200 C919s and 100 ARJ21s.