COMAC reveals smaller and larger variants of the C919 jetliner

C919 family will feature aircraft with 140 and 210 seats in two-class configuration

Unsurprisingly, COMAC, China’s state-owned commercial aircraft manufacturer, unveiled new variants of the C919 commercial jet at the 2023 Shanghai International Commercial Airshow.

The most modern passenger aircraft ever designed in China, the current C919 will be complemented by a smaller version, called the C919 “Shortened” or “Plateau Variant”, and a larger one, the “Stretched Variant”.

COMAC did not detail technical specifications of the new aircraft, but stated that the short version will be able to carry 140 passengers in a two-cabin layout while the larger C919 will offer 210 seats, also in two classes.

C919 Shortened/Plateau Variant (COMAC)

According to the company, the C919 “Stretched” “can meet the operational needs between main cities in China and the Asia Pacific region. The smaller C919, in turn, will be aimed at operations at high-altitude airports.

Similar size to the A320neo family

Despite the aircraft’s measurements not being reported, ADN compared images with the production version and estimated that the C919 “Plateau” could be around 34 meters long while the C919 “Stretched”, around 45 meters.

These are dimensions very close to those of the Airbus A320neo family, which serves as inspiration for COMAC. The A319neo is 33.8 meters long while the A320neo is 37.6 m long. The largest member of the series, the A321neo measures 44.5 m.

The approximate length comparison of the three versions of the C919 (COMAC and social media)

The images and models released at the event show the smaller C919 with just one emergency window in the center of the fuselage while the longer C919 gained a third door in the rear portion of the plane.

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COMAC also did not make predictions about what stage the studies are at, but the commercial launch of a family of commercial jets was a natural step given Chinese ambitions to be self-sufficient in the segment.

The C919 program has progressed slowly, with the first jet entering service only in May 2023. Currently, there are only two aircraft delivered, both to China Eastern Airlines, which placed a first order for five planes.

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