China’s homegrown C919 aircraft makes first international debut at Singapore Airshow
Published: Feb 20, 2024 12:40 PM
China's domestically manufactured C919 passenger aircraft has arrived at Singapore Changi International Airport on February 17, 2024, days ahead of the coming Singapore Airshow. Photo: Courtesy of China Eastern

China's domestically manufactured C919 passenger aircraft has arrived at Singapore Changi International Airport on February 17, 2024, days ahead of the coming Singapore Airshow. Photo: Courtesy of China Eastern

Two Chinese manufactured C919 planes and three ARJ21 aircraft made their official debut at the Singapore Airshow on Tuesday, according to press release sent to the Global Times.

During the event, the planes will perform flight demonstrations, conduct in-hall model exhibitions and outdoor displays, through which China is about to present to the public the phased results its commercial aircraft project has achieved, said the statement. 

On the sideline of the Singapore Airshow, China's Tibet Airlines and COMAC signed a contract for 40 high-altitude C919 plane orders and 10 ARJ 21 orders. Henan Civil Aviation Development & Investment Co also ordered six ARJ 21 planes including fire-fighting aircraft, medical use aircraft and emergency rescue aircraft, COMAC said in a separate statement sent to the Global Times. 

The C919 high-altitude variant is a significant development of the orginal C919 model, which meets the transportation requirements in plateau areas by shortening the fuselage and other plateau-use modifications, with 140 to 160 seats. 

The maximum takeoff and landing altitude of the ARJ21 plateau model is 14,500 feet (4,419.6 meters), with a good takeoff and landing performance at high plateau airports with crosswind resistance ability, which can be used at most of the high plateau airports in China. 

China's homegrown passenger jets have become one of the highlights at the event since it is the first time China flies its homegrown plane before international aviation enthusiasts overseas.

Expert said that the display of the C919 at the Singapore air show will allow more international customers to increase their confidence in Made- in-China aircraft.

Meanwhile, some western media and market analysts also said the C919's debut at Asia's biggest air show as "one of the most anticipated features at this year's event."

"This year's Singapore airshow could be significant as it can be seen as 'a symbol of Asia's recovery,'" said Brendan Sobie, aviation industry analyst at Sobie Aviation, an independent consulting firm in Singapore who was quoted by CNBC in a recent report.

The six-day event has attracted aerobatic teams from India, Australia, Indonesia and South Korea, and it will be attended by over 1,000 participating companies, and is expected to attract 50,000 attendees from over 50 countries and regions.

Notably, the organizer of Singapore Airshow said it has set up a country pavilion for Chinese aerospace enterprises for the first time, according to Xinhua News Agency.

This year will be critical for the producer of the C919 plane to accelerate mass production and deliveries, and exploring overseas market and promoting the plane to more international airlines is a test for the C919 manufacturer, Qi Qi, an independent market watcher, told the Global Times in a recent interview.

The C919 is built by the state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) and the plane has been making commercial flights in China since May 2023, and was displayed for the first time outside the Chinese mainland in Hong Kong in December.

So far, four C919 aircraft have been delivered to Chinese airliners, and more than 110,000 passengers have been safely transported. 

Thanks to government policy support, China's domestically built aircraft are on the fast track of production to grab market share. During the 2024 National Civil Aviation Work Conference held in January, China's aviation regulator pledged it will seek to work with its European counterpart to promote the aircraft to go abroad.

Meanwhile, Zhang Yujin, a deputy general manager of COMAC said the company plans to invest tens of billions of yuan to increase the production capacity for C919 and achieve stable growth in the coming three to five years, according to the

The aircraft, adopting advanced aerodynamic design, propulsion system and advanced materials, with lower carbon emissions and higher fuel efficiency, is expected to attract more global buyers at the Singapore Airshow.

Global Times