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China's First Domestically Made Aircraft Makes Its Global Premiere In Singapore

China's First Domestically Made Aircraft Makes Its Global Premiere In Singapore
The narrow-body C919, produced by the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), China's rival to Airbus and Boeing's passenger planes, made its first flight outside of China on Sunday during the Singapore Airshow.

China has made significant investments in an effort to challenge the dominance of the two Western aircraft manufacturers in the global passenger market.

This year, China has made a strong effort to expand the C919 and COMAC's influence both nationally and globally. Only in China is the aircraft certified, and China Eastern Airlines launched the first of the current four C919s into service last year.
The aviation industry is keeping an eye on COMAC's positioning as a competitive option as Airbus and Boeing struggle to increase production and satisfy demand for new aircraft, while Boeing faces a number of challenges.

Chinese media claimed in January that COMAC will invest tens of billions of yuan over the next three to five years to increase its capacity for producing C919.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) began validating the C919 last year, and China's aviation regulator announced last month that it will continue the process this year.
Ahead of Asia's largest air show on Sunday, the C919 was one of two commercial aircraft manufacturers to fly their craft alongside Airbus off the coast of Singapore. This year, Boeing has decided not to display any commercial aircraft.
The larger C919 twin-engine narrow-body aircraft with 158–192 seats, which competes with the well-known Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX 8 models, is one of COMAC's two passenger offerings. The other is the ARJ21 regional jet.

In December, the C919 took off for Hong Kong, its maiden flight outside of mainland China. TransNusa Air of Indonesia operates ARJ21s.

There are just four C919s in operation in China, according to industry insiders, and the jet is only certified by Chinese authorities. Additionally, the C919 depends on global supply chains.
Nonetheless, COMAC is receiving increased attention due to the supply shortage that is affecting the aviation sector as a whole and testing the anticipated full recovery and subsequent expansion of civil capacity in Asia.
"We have also seen a growing trend where clients are including the C919 option in their fleet evaluation," said Adam Cowburn of Alton Aviation Consultancy.
In 2023, two C919s were delivered. According to aviation consultancy IBA, 7–10 C919s might be delivered by 2024.
"With Airbus and Boeing narrowbodies in the A320neo and 737 MAX families sold out for most of this decade, the C919 has a strong opportunity to gain market share, particularly in its domestic market," said Mike Yeomans of aviation consultancy IBA.
"The immediate challenges for COMAC are around production to meet local demand and certification to penetrate international markets," Yeomans added.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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