Commercial aircraft that challenges the hegemony of the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 duo, the Chinese jetliner C919 from the state-owned manufacturer COMAC recently surpassed the 1,000 order mark.
The updated backlog was revealed by He Dongfeng, Chairman of the Board of Directors of COMAC, during the 16th Pujiang Innovation Forum, held in China, on September 10th. According to him, the C919 has exactly 1,061 aircraft ordered.
Of this total, only two C919s were delivered, both to China Eastern Airlines.
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Another COMAC commercial aircraft, the ARJ21-700 regional jet, also achieved a significant number of orders. According to Dongfeng, there are already 775 aircraft of the type on order and 117 models delivered. These aircraft are in service with Chinese airlines and Indonesia’s TransNusa.
‘Made in China’ aircraft
Launched in 2008, the C919 is the most ambitious passenger aircraft developed in China. After a long and tortuous period of development and testing, the aircraft obtained the Type Certificate from CAAC, the Chinese civil aviation authority, in 2022.
In the market to compete in the segment of narrow jets with more than 150 seats, the COMAC C919 is an airplane built essentially to supply the demand of the Chinese market.
Exports of the jet should happen in a few years, to companies in the East and countries politically allied with China – with opportunities in Africa, the Middle East, Russia and perhaps even South America.
The large-scale introduction of the C919 is something that should also take some time to happen, as well as the certification of the plane in other countries.
The aircraft uses fundamental components imported from Western suppliers, such as engines (Leap-1C, from CFM) and avionics systems. The regular shipment of items, however, depends on geopolitical trends.
More than a product, the C919 is a valuable achievement for China and shakes the foundations of the global aerospace market. If it is even minimally successful in the Chinese aviation market, orders for A320s and 737s by carriers in the Asian country should decrease considerably.