COMAC C919 B-001F aircraft

COMAC also approaches Saudi Arabia to assemble its commercial jets

Chinese planemaker aims to begin international expansion for the C919 and ARJ21 models after establishing local production. Embraer has also been negotiating with Arabs with an eye on industrial ties

COMAC, a state-owned manufacturer of commercial jets, has been talking to representatives from Saudi Arabia with an eye on a possible international expansion of its business, Reuters revealed.

The company’s CEO, Dongfeng He was in the Middle Eastern country during the Future of Aviation Forum, held in Riyadh, and stated that COMAC intends to “contribute to the development of air transport in Saudi Arabia”.

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The visit comes after a Saudi delegation visited COMAC’s facilities in Shanghai in February.

C919 and ARJ21 jets in Vietnam (VIA)

According to Reuters, the Saudia Group, which controls the airlines Saudia and flyadeal, invited COMAC to establish an assembly line in Jeddah.

Saudia would also be evaluating the C919 jet, the Chinese equivalent of the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320neo, which the group has just ordered.

Chinese jets without approval abroad yet

Saudi Arabia is in the midst of the Vision 2030 plan, which envisages a series of actions to reduce dependence on oil by diversifying the country’s economy.

COMAC aircraft, however, are at a very early stage in terms of approvals for them to operate in Western markets.

Saudia Airbus A321neo (Anna Zvereva)

While the ARJ21 regional jets have a relevant fleet in China, there is only one external operator, TransNusa, from Indonesia. The C919 has only five aircraft in service with China Eastern Airlines.

In addition to COMAC, Embraer also approached companies and the Saudi government in search of a broad agreement to establish a factory and support services for its aircraft such as the C-390 Millennium and E2.

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