On Wednesday, China announced hundreds of new orders for its first domestically produced large passenger jet, with the plane ready for commercial launch early next year.
China’s state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corporation (COMAC) said it had sealed an order for 300 narrow-body C919s at a major broadcast Tuesday.
The notice did not clarify whether orders had been fully confirmed and did not give details on the value of the transactions or expected delivery dates.
If the orders are fulfilled, the known number of transactions for the C919 will amount to more than 1,100, based on figures from previous COMAC reports.
Authorities hope the C919 – the country’s first homegrown jet with great commercial potential – will challenge foreign models such as the Boeing 737 MAX and Airbus A320.
Beijing also predicts that aircraft will help the country reduce its reliance on foreign technology amid close ties with Western countries — although most of the plane’s parts are sourced from abroad.
COMAC said it has reached agreements with seven companies to lease a total of 330 aircraft, including 30 predecessors of the C919, the ARJ21 regional jet, which entered service in 2008.
The orders “fully demonstrate the confidence our rental partners have” in the two models, COMAC said.
The company showed off the C919 on Tuesday at the China International Air and Space Expo.
The sleek plane plunged down a runway in the southern Chinese city of Zhuhai before taking to the sky in front of hundreds of onlookers.
Some details on current orders for the C919 have been revealed.
But the domestic media have reported that the four planes are expected to be delivered to China Eastern Airlines – the country’s second-largest airline in terms of passenger numbers – by the end of the year and depart. into operation in the first quarter of 2023.
China signed a $17 billion deal to buy Airbus aircraft earlier this year.
According to Xinhua, the company started production of its A321 model in the eastern city of Tianjin on Wednesday with the goal of delivery early next year.
The state news agency quoted Airbus China CEO George Xu as saying the move showed “the company’s unwavering support for the Chinese market”.
Boeing 737 MAX has been landed in China since 2019 after two Deadly accidentalthough Boeing said in July that it could be approved for delivery by Chinese regulators this year.
But protracted US-China trade tensions and China’s worst commercial aviation disaster earlier this year involving a Boeing 737-800 have slowed progress.
© 2022 AFP
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