In five years’ time China expects to be building 150 COMAC C919 aircraft every year, as the domestically-made jet aims to compete with the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX aircraft families.
According to The Paper, a Chinese government-associated publication, the C919 has received 1,035 orders from 32 customers.
Meanwhile, Airbus aims to produce 65 A320 family aircraft (A319, A320, and A321) in 2023, eventually increasing that figure to 75 by mid-decade. Boeing, which has had to deal with the grounding of the 737 MAX, aims to deliver numbers of the aircraft in the low 30s in H1 2023, ramping up that number to low 40s by the second half of the year. These figures are according to Brian West, Boeing’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Executive Vice President of Finance, who spoke during the company’s Investor Conference on November 2, 2022.
Most recently, the Boeing 737 MAX has begun flying in China once again. After almost three years of being grounded, China Southern Airlines operated the first flight of the type on January 13, 2022, its first since the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) grounded the aircraft in March 2019.
The C919, which Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) delivered to its first customer, China Eastern Airlines, in early December 2022, has yet to fly commercial passengers, as it has been going through operational tests before being permitted to do so. The CAAC certified the narrow-body jet on September 29, 2022, paving the way for its eventual, much-delayed entry into service.
Seating between 158 and 192 passengers and able to fly between 4,075 and 5,555 kilometers, the C919 sits within the same market segment as the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 MAX families. While the European plane maker’s product has received an order for 300 aircraft in as late as 2022, the United States Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) has struggled to gain orders in China, as geopolitical tensions have hindered Boeing in conducting business in one of the world’s largest civil aviation markets.