China showcases its C919 jet at Singapore air show, but faces hurdles to compete globally

China showcases its C919 jet at Singapore air show, but faces hurdles to compete globally

China’s C919 single-aisle jet made its first appearance outside mainland China at the Singapore air show last week, drawing crowds of visitors and over 1,000 orders, mostly from Chinese airlines. However, analysts say the jet still has a long way to go before it can challenge the dominance of Boeing and Airbus in the global market.

The C919, developed by the Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China (COMAC), is part of China’s ambition to become a major player in the commercial aviation industry. The jet, which can seat up to 168 passengers, is designed to compete with the Boeing 737 Max and the Airbus A320neo, the most popular narrow-body airliners in the world.

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However, the C919 faces several obstacles to achieve international recognition and acceptance. One of them is the lack of certification by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the two leading regulators in the industry. Without their approval, the C919 cannot operate in most countries, except those that accept China’s civil aviation authority’s certification.

A China's Comac C919 aircraft performs during first day of Singapore Airshow in Singapore

Another challenge is the reliability and performance of the jet, which has not been proven in real-world operations. The C919 has been undergoing flight tests since 2017, but has not yet entered commercial service. The only customer that has received the jet so far is China Eastern Airlines, which operates four C919 aircrafts for testing purposes.

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The C919 also needs to establish a global network of suppliers, distributors, and service providers, to support its customers and ensure the availability of spare parts and maintenance. COMAC has partnered with some foreign companies, such as General Electric and Honeywell, to provide some of the components and systems for the C919, but it still relies heavily on domestic suppliers, which may not meet the standards and expectations of international customers.

Despite these challenges, the C919 has received strong support from the Chinese government and airlines, which see it as a symbol of national pride and technological advancement. COMAC has secured over 1,000 orders for the C919, mostly from Chinese state-owned or controlled carriers, such as Air China, China Southern Airlines, and Hainan Airlines. The C919 also attracted some interest from foreign customers, such as GE Capital Aviation Services, which ordered 10 jets in 2010.
The C919’s debut at the Singapore air show, which attracted nearly 120,000 trade and public visitors, was an opportunity for COMAC to showcase its product and seek potential customers and partners in the Asia-Pacific region, one of the fastest-growing markets for air travel. The C919 performed several fly-pasts during the show, allowing visitors to see the jet in action. The only other time the C919 left mainland China was in December, when it flew to Hong Kong.
“It’s quite symbolic and a major milestone in that push by China to become considered, alongside Airbus and Boeing, for commercial aircrafts,” said Brendan Sobie, an independent aviation analyst based in Singapore. He added that the C919 still has a lot of work to do before it can compete with the established players in the industry.

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Source : yahoo finance

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