On September 29, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) held a ceremony at Beijing Capital Airport to officially issue the C919 aircraft type certificate to COMAC, marking that China’s first jetliner developed in full compliance with international advanced airworthiness standards has passed the CAAC airworthiness certification and meets the requirements of Part 25 of the Civil Aviation Regulations of China (CCAR-25-R3) for transport category aircraft, and is qualified for civil transportation.
The C919 passenger aircraft is a short to medium range commercial twin-engine passenger aircraft developed by China with independent intellectual property rights, which successfully made its maiden flight on May 5, 2017 and received its first type inspection approval on November 27, 2020. Currently, the C919 airliner has 28 customers with a cumulative order of 815 aircraft, and the first aircraft is expected to be delivered to launch user China Eastern Airlines by the end of the year.
I find it cool, especially to see some new models in general. I also have much more hope for this than for the other A320-like plane in development, as this has a way more realistic economic environment and thus chance of success.
As far as I know, this model still has a relatively long way to go to reach the same levels (performance but also cabin-wise) as A and B simply due to the fact that the others have had much more time and money to invest.
The biggest problem I see with this is, that many airlines and parts of the world are already dependent on A or B-family aircraft and supply chains, so establishing a reliable spare part supply chain is crucial. While geopolitical issues pose a threat, cheaper unit prices due to cheaper personnel (speculation) can maybe help to expand its footprint outside of China and other countries that are heavily influenced by China. Ofc A and B can give better discounts, but I can see some success possibilities. I also think this will work more like a “key” to enable Comac to “open” the door to further and even more advanced aircraft development in the future, rather than a true A and B competitor (for now).
A huge moment for the Chinese aviation for sure, and I do look forward to see what they can do in the future. While I try to remain unbiased on this, my experience with their ARJ21 regional jet was quite identical to any Airbus/Boeing aircraft (to be fair the components are more or less the same), so C919 with a similar concept to assemble imported parts should perform fairly well too. There’s still a long way to go with other certifications but it looks like a desirable start for Comac.
The next challenge is to start producing their own components and so on, though with the resources they have it does look promising in the long run.