COMAC is expanding the C919 assembly line in Shanghai

Chinese narrow-body commercial jet has more than 1,000 purchase intentions, with at least 300 firm orders from three major Chinese carriers

COMAC has already begun negotiations to expand the assembly line for the new C919 jetliner at its facilities at Pudong Airport, in Shanghai.

The state-owned company AVIC-CAPDI said on social media in China that it will begin the second phase of expansion of the COMAC plant, where the 170-seat aircraft will be produced.

The new production area is expected to occupy 330,000 square meters and include a parts warehouse and yard, in addition to the assembly line, according to Reuters.

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C919 assembly line
C919 assembly line (COMAC)

The announcement comes weeks after COMAC placed two orders for a total of 200 C919 jets, ordered by Air China and China Southern Airlines. There is also a first large order from China Eastern Airlines closed last September.

Production rate of 150 aircraft

The Chinese state-owned manufacturer is currently producing the aircraft in small batches while improving assembly processes and evaluating the performance of the first five C919s delivered to China Eastern.

The C919 has been in service for almost a year, flying from Shanghai to Beijing, Chengdu and Xi’an.

Two of China Eastern Airlines’ C919s (CEA)

The plans of the Chinese government, which controls COMAC, are to reach an annual production rate of 150 C919s by 2028.

This is a very high level considering that Airbus has delivered just under 250 A320neo in recent years. The C919 is a direct competitor to the European jet and the Boeing 737.

While for now the vast majority of orders originate from Chinese airlines, COMAC aims to obtain type certification so that the C919 can be exported in the future.


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