The Chinese-built COMAC C919 narrowbody twinjet is going on a five-day visit to Hong Kong. The event will mark the first visit of the aircraft to anywhere outside mainland China following its certification in 2022. The aircraft is built by the Commercial Aircraft Company of China, otherwise known as COMAC.
Hong Kong’s Civil Aviation Department has revealed that the aircraft will be exhibited at the city’s Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) between December 12 and 17, along with another Chinese-built airliner, the ARJ21. Officials have also revealed that the C919 will perform a fly-past around Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong on December 16.
The type received certification from the Chinese authorities in September 2022 and entered commercial service with China Eastern Airlines in December of that year. The airline currently operates two of the type, with a third due to arrive in December 2023. The type typically seats 164 passengers in a single-class configuration.
While the C919 has been displayed at several Chinese-based airshows in recent years, this upcoming tour of the C919 will mark the first time a C919 aircraft will have been seen anywhere outside of mainland China.
Pitched as a direct competitor of the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 families of commercial jets, COMAC is yet to secure a single order for its twinjet from any airline outside of mainland China and hopes that the visit to Hong Kong might invoke interest from overseas carriers.
The ARJ21 is fairing slightly better than the C919, with around 100 aircraft operating with nine airlines, including TransNusa based in Indonesia. The rear-engined twinjet can seat up to 90 passengers in a single-class layout.
“HKIA is honored to be the first airport outside the mainland to receive the C919 aircraft,” said Fred Lam, CEO of HKIA operator Airport Authority Hong Kong. “We look forward to deepening collaborations with our partners on the mainland and contributing to the development of a world-class aviation industry for the country.”
Organizations based in Hong Kong participated in the early research and development of the C919. Hong Kong’s Civil Aviation Department was invited by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) to participate in the program, and a representative was sent to Shanghai in 2022 to participate in the completion of the C919 flight test program.
As part of its whistle-stop showcase visit to Hong Kong, COMAC states it will also host various meetings with youth groups “to share interesting facts about the knowledge and development of both the C919 and the ARJ21 aircraft.”