C919:: China’s home-grown passenger jet and can it compete with aviation giants Airbus, Boeing?
The C919 is China’s home-grown, narrow-body passenger jet designed to carry 158 to 192 passengers and compete with Boeing’s 737 and Airbus’ A320State-owned manufacturer the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China has received over 300 orders for the C919, which could enter commercial operation in 2024.
What is the C919?
The C919 is a narrow-body passenger jet built by the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac), a state-owned company based in Shanghai.
The Chinese government formed Comac in 2008 to design and build the single-aisle C919. It is designed to compete with Boeing’s 737 and Airbus’ A320.
The C919 made its maiden test flight in 2017 and was certified to fly by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) in September after 14 years of development.
Comac delivered the first C919 jet to China Eastern Airlines in Shanghai in December.
The plane is designed to carry between 158 and 192 passengers.
China Eastern Airlines ordered four of the aircraft in May at a cost of US$99 million each. Comac has said it plans to deliver the rest of the orders within the next two years.
At China’s biggest air show in Zhuhai in November, Comac said it had secured orders from seven leasing firms for 300 planes, a little over a month after it was certified to fly.
By late 2022, Comac had received 305 orders for the C919 in China, while Boeing had only received 116 for its 737 series, according to a report from the Mercator Institute for China Studies (Merics), a Berlin-based think tank.
Comac deputy general manager Zhang Yujin said in January the company had received more than 1,200 orders for the jet.
The C919 began its flight validation process on December 26.
Upon completion, the plane will receive confirmation of its operational safety, maintenance reliability, and support capabilities.
Xinhua reported the C919 is expected to meet the rest of the requirements in the spring, after which it will be put into commercial operation
China has high hopes that the C919 will reduce dependence on foreign technology as ties with Western countries deteriorate.
However, most parts used for the C919 are imported from foreign manufacturers, including the engine, avionics, control systems, communications and landing gear.
Comac has been working to replace some of the foreign parts, including an alternative for the LEAP engine made by CFM International, a joint venture between American firm GE Aviation and France’s Safran Aircraft Engines
Aviation is among the sectors in advanced technology negatively affected by deteriorating China-US relations.
Several subsidiaries of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China, which is a shareholder in Comac, have been added to the US Commerce Department’s list of Chinese companies with alleged military ties.
China’s aviation industry is facing more export control restrictions from the US as Washington is deeply concerned with the country’s military-civilian fusion strategy, which aims to modernise the country’s defence forces by integrating civilian research and the commercial sector with military-industrial players.
– courtesy China economy