COMAC C919 jetliner

Chinese jetliner C919 will be alone at Singapore Airshow with absence of A320neo and 737 MAX

COMAC aircraft will make its debut at an event abroad while Boeing will not take its commercial aircraft and Airbus, only the A350

A missed chance to see the three narrow-body jets in production side by side for the first time. The Singapore Airshow 2024, which will take place between February 20 and 25, will host the first aerial demonstration of the COMAC C919 outside of China.

However, Airbus and above all Boeing will have a more discreet participation in the most important aerospace event in Southeast Asia.

The European planemaker will carry out aerial demonstrations with the A350-1000 only, without the presence of any member of the A320neo family, at first.

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Boeing, which is facing yet another crisis caused by the 737 MAX, will not have any commercial aircraft at the air show, only its military planes.

Boeing 737 MAX 10
737 MAX 10 (Boeing)

Therefore, it will not be possible to compare the two traditional single-aisle jets with their new Chinese competitor, which entered service less than a year ago.

Despite the absence of its aircraft, Boeing may announce a large order of up to 80 787 Dreamliner widebodies for Thai Airways.

The Thai carrier confirmed in recent days that it had reached an agreement for 45 aircraft with Boeing and that they will use GE engines. The new 787-9s should be received from 2027 onwards.

Airbus, in turn, is expected to focus on its long-haul jets, including the A330neo, but new orders for narrowbodies are a possibility.

China Eastern Airlines C919 (CEA)

C919, an increasingly real alternative

Given the discretion of the two largest commercial aircraft manufacturers, the state-owned COMAC may take advantage of the moment to attract potential interested parties for the C919, the most advanced jetliner ever developed in China.

The aircraft with around 164 seats is in production ramp-up after having delivered four aircraft to China Eastern Airlines, its only operator so far.

An A320neo taking off from Toulouse: single-aisle aircraft has taken the place of the A380 in the line (Airbus)

While there are no concerns regarding demand from Chinese customers, COMAC aims to export the C919 and is seeking type certification from EASA, the European civil aviation authority.

Although it is a local product, the C919 depends on many Western components such as CFM’s Leap-1C engines. The manufacturer is working to replace items with similar Chinese ones, but the process is expected to take years.

Airbus and Boeing’s difficulties in meeting demand for single-aisle commercial jets, however, make the C919 an increasingly real alternative.


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