Two executives from the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) have offered conflicting order book numbers for the C919 in the span of just a few months.
While speaking at the 16th Pujiang Innovation Forum on September 10, 2023, the planemaker’s board chairman He Dongfeng said that the C919 has received 1,061 orders, according to a report by China’s CGTN.
Dongfeng also provided a brief update on the C929, formerly known as the CR2929, saying that China’s domestically made wide-body jet is still in its “preliminary design stage”.
Previously, Russia altered its participation status in the project, switching from a joint-venture partner to a key supplier, citing sanctions against its aerospace sector as the reason for the change.
However, Zhang Yujin, the vice president of COMAC, told CGTN in January 2023 that the Chinese manufacturer has amassed more than 1,200 orders for the C919, adding that “many other airlines are placing orders”.
The executive also mentioned that COMAC will attempt to increase the production rate of the C919, with the Chinese aircraft industry now looking to focus on industrialization.
China Eastern Airlines received its first COMAC C919 in December 2022, and the aircraft entered service in late May 2023. The C919, registered as B-919A, began exclusively transporting passengers between Chengdu Tianfu International Airport (TFU) and Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (SHA).
COMAC delivered the second C919, registered as B-919C, to China Eastern Airlines on August 2, 2023. The aircraft also began shuttling passengers between TFU and SHA, with both aircraft operating no more than two flights per day.
In its H1 2023 financial report, the carrier indicated that as part of its 2023 delivery plan that COMAC would deliver three more C919 aircraft, completing the airline’s order for the type.
Other large China-based airlines, including Air China and China Southern Airlines, have planned no C919 deliveries for the remainder of 2023.