New Aviation Era Approaches As The C919 Passenger Airliner Nears Regulatory Approval
China’s C919 passenger aircraft is shortly to be authorized for use by China’s aviation regulator. Two of the aircraft were shown to have landed simultaneously at Beijing Capital Airport as China’s rival to the Boeing BA.N 737 MAX and Airbus AIR.PA A320 family of jets, is set to be certified by China’s aviation regulator on September 19. The final appearance of the C919 as part of a major fleet essentially spells the end of Airbus and Boeing dominance in the global aviation industry.
The C919 is a narrow-body airliner developed by Chinese aircraft manufacturer Comac. The development program was launched in 2008, with prototype production beginning in December 2011, with the maiden flight on 5 May 2017.
The first commercial deliveries of the aircraft are expected shortly after certification, to China Eastern Airlines. The aircraft, primarily constructed with aluminum alloys, is to be powered by either CFM International LEAP or ACAE CJ-1000A turbofan engines and be able to carry 156 to 168 passengers in a normal operating configuration up to 5,555 km (3000 nmi).
Comac has significant commitments for the aircraft, including several hundred firm orders, mostly from Chinese leasing companies and airlines.
The C919 is not the only aircraft likely to be in regional use. the CR929, a China-Russian JV, is expected to launch its long-haul aircraft by 2025, while Russia also has its Sukhoi Superjet aircraft.
Both countries are looking to wean themselves off US and EU manufactured parts and are increasingly working with India in aviation development. The three countries, together with Iran, are in the process of building regional aviation maintenance hubs in the Middle East, as they look to replace their Airbus and Boeing fleets with domestic aircraft. The industry is exciting for all as the aviation industry supports a huge volume of secondary suppliers, and also feeds into the automotive and aerospace industries.
The volume of Asian passengers via air has grown by 453% this year to date as covid declines and travelling becomes easier. Overall, air passenger growth in Asia is expected to reach 860 million passengers by 2030 and be the world’s largest. China and Russia expect to fulfill that demand with their own aircraft.