Spun out of China’s military aviation industry in 2008, Comac has announced close to 1,000 orders and options for the plane, mainly from domestic customers. The first delivery, to China Eastern Airlines, is due to take place by the end of this year.
The C919 is no match in fuel efficiency or range for the newest versions of the Airbus A320 or Boeing’s 737 family. But the big worry for the western groups is that future iterations could make a large dent in orders from China. The country is on course to become the world’s largest aviation market. Boeing predicts the country’s airlines will acquire a total of 8,600 new planes over the next 20 years alone.