COMAC has reached an agreement with Tibet Airlines to jointly research the C919 “Plateau”, a shortened version of the commercial jet that is planned for operation at high-altitude airports.
Headquartered in Lhasa, Tibet has a flight network from the city’s airport, which is almost 3,600 meters above sea level.
The Tibetan carrier is a major customer for the Airbus A319, including the A319neo version. The C919 “Plateau” is similar in size to the Western model, and can carry around 140 passengers.
COMAC had revealed two new variants of the C919 in November. In addition to the smaller jet, there is also a 210-passenger version, equivalent to the A321neo.
“The deal will help develop domestically made passenger jets and safeguard national security and border stability”, said Tibet Airlines, in a statement released on the social network Wechat.
COMAC General Manager Zhou Xinmin stated that Tibet Airlines has “accumulated rich experience in high-altitude operations and made outstanding contributions to the development of China’s high-altitude aviation market.”
The C919 is the most advanced passenger aircraft ever developed in China and has been in service since May.
To date, COMAC has delivered three jets, all to China Eastern Airlines, but has hundreds of sales commitment orders from the country’s airlines.