COMAC eyes 750 or­ders for C919 jet

China Daily - - FRONT PAGE - By WANG YING in Shang­hai wang_y­ing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Or­ders for the C919, the first large pas­sen­ger air­craft pro­duced in China in ac­cor­dance with in­ter­na­tional civil avi­a­tion reg­u­la­tions, are ex­pected to reach 750 by year’s end, cor­po­rate of­fi­cials told China Daily.

“We ex­pect to re­ceive more than 100 new or­ders for the C919 from some Chi­nese com­pa­nies in the com­ing months,” said Xu Pei, deputy chief of the mar­ket­ing di­vi­sion of Com­mer­cial Air­craft Corp of China, the plane’s Shang­haibased man­u­fac­turer.

The C919, which made its maiden flight on May 5, has a stan­dard range of 4,075 kilo­me­ters, mak­ing it com­pa­ra­ble to the up­dated Air­bus

320 and Boe­ing’s new-gen­er­a­tion 737 planes.

The C919 has se­cured 600 or­ders from 24 cus­tomers both do­mes­tic and for­eign. COMAC has re­ceived 34 or­ders from GE Cap­i­tal Avi­a­tion Ser­vices, the largest com­mer­cial air­line leas­ing com­pany in the world, Ger­man start-up Puren Air­lines, and City Air­ways of Thai­land.

Boe­ing and Air­bus have long dom­i­nated the pas­sen­ger air­craft mar­ket, and the C919 is not meant to com­pete head-to­head with them in fully de­vel­oped, ma­ture mar­kets.

“Our mar­ket­ing team is fo­cus­ing on three ma­jor tar­get mar­kets, which are our home mar­ket, Africa, and South­east Asian coun­tries in­volved in the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive,” Xu said.

Hu Shuangqian, 57, who was a mem­ber of the man­u­fac­tur­ing team for the Y-10, the na­tion’s first lo­cally made pas­sen­ger air­craft, is now lead­ing a team work­ing on com­put­er­ized controls at COMAC. He said he was lucky to be part of the pro­ject.

“Since the (Y-10) pro­ject was sus­pended in the 1980s due to var­i­ous rea­sons, many of my for­mer col­leagues had been dream­ing of an­other chance to build Chi­nese planes. They did not see that day be­fore their re­tire­ment,” said Hu.

Since its es­tab­lish­ment in 2008, COMAC has worked on the re­gional jet­liner ARJ21, the C919 and a wide-body air­craft to be jointly de­vel­oped by China and Rus­sia.

In Novem­ber, COMAC pub­lished a re­port about the global pas­sen­ger air­craft mar­ket be­tween 2016 and 2035, pre­dict­ing that a to­tal of 39,948 air­craft with a value of $5.23 tril­lion will be needed in the com­ing two decades. China alone will need 6,865 pas­sen­ger air­craft, 65.5 per­cent of which would be sin­gle-aisle planes, 21.2 per­cent wide-body jets, and 13.3 per­cent re­gional jets.

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