The first series-production C919 jetliner will have the China Eastern Airlines livery. Images of the COMAC aircraft were shared by the profile @航旅圈 on the social network Weibo on Wednesday.
In addition to showing the tail of the new plane, the images show the slogan “The World’s First C919” applied to the fuselage.
Possibly the photos were taken at the COMAC facility in Shanghai, where the commercial jet is produced. It is not possible to know if the aircraft is the registration B-001J, which flew in May and is the first to be produced in series.
Until recently, the C919 B-001J had a manufacturer livery, used at the CAAC certification ceremony weeks ago.
China Eastern Airlines intended to debut its first C919s with subsidiary OTT Airlines, but the use of its livery could indicate a marketing strategy aligned with the Chinese government.
Questions about western components
The C919 is China’s most ambitious commercial aircraft. With a capacity for 168 passengers, the jet is similar in size to the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 and should become a domestic alternative to these western models in the future.
Although not as advanced as the A320 and 737, the C919 is a lower cost aircraft and has the help of Chinese airlines, which have already secured at least 800 purchase intentions.
The main uncertainty about the new COMAC plane is its western engines and avionics. The relationship between China and the US has been going through delicate moments in recent years and the trend is for the situation to get even worse.
It remains to be seen how the C919 will be able to reach a higher production rate if it does not rely on the Leap-1C engines, supplied by CFM, a partnership between Safran (France) and GE (USA). The ACAE CJ-1000A turbofan, considered a Chinese “clone” and which is the final solution for the jet, still seems far from certification.