Updated February 23rd, 2024 at 16:44 IST

'Made in China' COMAC C919 makes waves at Singapore airshow, outshines Airbus and Boeing

COMAC showcased its C919 outside Chinese territory for the first time, drawing attention from aviation, government, and investment professionals.

Reported by: Business Desk
COMAC C919 | Image:Reuters
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COMAC C919: The Singapore Airshow this week saw Chinese state-owned planemaker COMAC emerge as a standout presence, overshadowing industry giants Airbus and Boeing with its self-developed C919 and ARJ21 jets, signalling its ambitions for international certifications and foreign orders.

COMAC showcased its C919 outside Chinese territory for the first time, drawing attention from aviation, government, and investment professionals keen to explore a company that has primarily operated within its home market.

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While industry leaders acknowledged COMAC's entry into the competition, they also expressed skepticism about its immediate impact and emphasised the challenges it faces in obtaining international certifications and breaking into foreign markets.

The C919 has garnered significant orders, particularly from Chinese airlines and lessors, but potential buyers and lessors are awaiting regulatory approval from US and European authorities, beyond the plane's current certification by China's aviation authority.

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GallopAir, a Brunei-based airline backed by Chinese investors, has placed orders for 30 COMAC planes, including the first overseas C919 purchases. However, the certification process for the C919 in Brunei could take several years, underscoring the challenges ahead for COMAC in expanding its market reach.

Moreover, the C919's reliance on Western suppliers for crucial components like engines and avionics systems poses geopolitical risks amid strained relations between Beijing and Western powers. While COMAC aims to develop domestic alternatives for these parts, industry experts foresee a lengthy process.

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Despite these hurdles, COMAC's presence at the Singapore Airshow signifies its growing ambitions in the global aviation market and its determination to challenge the dominance of Airbus and Boeing.

(With Reuters inputs.)

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Published February 22nd, 2024 at 13:57 IST