Although the airline industry overall is an extremely competitive market, there is little competition among its suppliers of aircraft. In the large commercial aircraft market of the airline supply business, the major players are American-based Boeing (BA) and the Airbus Group, formerly known as the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS).
Although there are also a few others in the same field, their market share is negligibly small. Fighter jets are being manufactured by many countries and tough completions exist, yet, the commercial airline business is less competitive and monopolized.
The Comac C919 is a narrow-body airliner developed by Chinese aircraft manufacturer Comac. The development program was launched in 2008. Production of the prototype began in December 2011, with the first prototype being ready on 2 November 2015 and its maiden flight on 5 May 2017. The aircraft received its airworthiness certification from the Civil Aviation Administration of China on 29 September 2022 and the first operational airframe intended for commercial service was delivered to launch customer China Eastern Airlines on 9 December 2022 in Shanghai.
The dimensions of the C919 are quite similar to those of the Airbus A320; its fuselage is 3.96 meters (13.0 ft) wide and 4.166 meters (13.67 ft) high with a 12.915 square meters (139.02 sq ft) cross-section. This may allow for a common unit load device to be used for both aircraft. It has a 33.6 meters (110 ft) wingspan (35.4 meters (116 ft) with winglets). The aircraft’s intended payload capacity will be 20.4 tonnes. The design calls for a cruise at Mach 0.785 (450 km; 834 km/h) with an operating ceiling of 12,200 meters (39,800 feet). There will be two variants: the standard version with a 4,075 km (2,200 mi) range, and a 5,555 km (2,999 mi) extended-range version. The C919 is a conservative design, similar to the 30 years older A320.
China’s C919 large passenger jetliner completed its first airline validation flight on Monday, taking off from a Shanghai airport and landing at an airport in Beijing. It marks the initiation of the 100-hour aircraft validation flight process, which will last until mid-February 2023. The testing process will comprehensively verify the reliability of the C919 with commercial operation in mind — with the aim of ensuring its safety and efficiency.
The C919 is China’s first homegrown large jetliner. The 100-hour aircraft validation flight process will see the aircraft land in several cities across China, including Beijing, Chengdu, Xi’an, Haikou, and Qingdao, according to China Eastern Airlines, the C919’s launch operator. The first C919 aircraft was delivered to China Eastern Airlines earlier this month.
The first group of pilots, flight attendants, and maintenance personnel have completed their training, and further training for personnel in key positions has been carried out, China Eastern Airlines said.
The results of the validation flight process will be reviewed and inspected by the Civil Aviation Administration of China, and an operating permit for the C919 aircraft will be issued to the airline if the test results prove satisfactory. The aircraft is expected to be put into commercial operation by China Eastern Airlines in the spring of 2023.
In 2012 the C919 order book stood at 380 units worth US$26 billion and averaging $68.4 million. Flight Global’s Ascend market values in 2013 were $49.2 million for the Airbus A320neo, 51% less than its $100.2 million list price, and $51.4 million for the Boeing 737 MAX-8, 49% less than its $100.5 million list price.
The Chinese airlines that have placed orders for the C919 already have either the Boeing 737 or Airbus A320 in their fleets. In 2013, the Chinese state-owned newspaper Global Times complained that an Aviation Week editorial about the bleak prospects for the aircraft “maliciously disparaged the future outlook for the C919”.
COMAC aims to take a fifth of the global narrow-body market and a third of the Chinese market by 2035. It expects 2,000 sales in the next 20 years. The Financial Times commented that China considers it a source of national pride. It also claimed the C919 is outdated by 10–15 years compared to the latest versions of the A320 and Boeing 737, and will probably cost more to operate. Its range of 2,200–3,000 nmi (4,100–5,600 km) falls short of the 3,400 and 3,550 nmi (6,300 and 6,570 km) of the A320neo and 737 Max 8, the C919 payload range and economics are similar to the current single-aisles, but it will compete with the Neo and Max. Flight Global forecasts 1,209 deliveries: 687 standard and 522 stretched variants, for 85% in China.
China’s entry into this field might have created challenges for Boeing and Airbus, but, has brought hope to many developing countries. The Chinese products have a good reputation and completive prices. It will meet the demand of many developing economies to meet their demands within an affordable budget. Even though Chinese domestic demand is huge, almost half of the aircraft in the global industry belongs to China. The largest number of travelers are Chinese, and indigenously developed aircraft may gain popularity among Chinese and as well as globally. Like other areas, China may become the leader of the air Industry in the very near future.
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