Comac C919

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Comac C919
Comac C-919.jpg
A model of the future C919 in flight
Role Narrow-body twin-engine jet airliner
National origin People's Republic of China
Manufacturer Comac
First flight Late 2015 (projected)
Introduction 2018 (projected)[1]
Status Under Development
Number built Building 1 prototype.

The Comac C919 is a planned family of 158-174 seat narrow-body twin-engine airliners to be built by the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac).[2][3][4] It will be the largest commercial airliner designed and built in China since the defunct Shanghai Y-10. Its first flight is expected to take place in 2015, with first deliveries scheduled for late 2018.[5]

The C919 forms part of China's long-term goal to break Airbus and Boeing's duopoly, and is intended to compete against Airbus A320, Boeing 737 and Irkut MC-21.[6] As a long term plan the twin‑engine, twin aisle C929 and C939 are proposed, offering 300 and 400 seats, respectively.[7]


Comac applied for a type certificate for the aircraft from the Civil Aviation Authority of China on 28 October 2010.[8] The company plans to conduct the first flight of the C919 in 2015, with deliveries beginning in 2017,[8] whereas Marwan Lahoud, Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer of Airbus Group,[9] assumes a competition outside China around 2020.[10]

In June 2011 COMAC and Irish low-cost airline Ryanair signed an agreement to co-operate on the development of the C919[11] On 24 November 2011, Comac announced the completion of the joint definition phase, marking the end of the preliminary design phase for the C919.[12] The company said it planned to cut the first metal for the aircraft in December 2011, with estimated completion of the detailed design phase in 2012.[12]

With an estimated development cost of $8.3 billion, Comac planned to produce 5-10 planes per year in 2016 and 2017, subsequently ramping up to 150 C919s.[13] The company intends to manufacture up to 2,300 aircraft of that type.[14]

In 2014 delivery was yet again delayed by technology and supplier problems, this time to 2018.[1]


Comac C-919 Model

Design and assembly of the aircraft will be done in Shanghai, using foreign-made jet engines and avionics.[15] However, China has expressed its desire to produce a domestically made engine for the C919.[16]

The center wing box, outer wing box, wing panels, flaps and ailerons are planned to be built in Xi'an, China. The center fuselage sections are planned to be built in Hongdu, China.[17] The airframe will be made largely of aluminium alloy, while the center wing box also makes use of carbonfiber composites.[14]

CFM International will supply a version of the LEAP engine, the LEAP-1C, to power the aircraft.[18] The engine's nacelle, thrust reverser and exhaust system will be provided by Nexcelle, with such features as an advanced inlet configuration, the extensive use of composites and acoustic treatment and an electrically operated thrust reverser.[19] Michelin will supply Air X radial tyres.[20]

Dimensions of the C919 are very similar to the Airbus A320, possibly to allow for a common pallet to be used. Its fuselage will be 3.96 metres (13 feet) wide, and 4.166 metres (13 feet, 8 inches) high, producing a cross-section of 12.915 square metres (139 square feet). The wingspan will be 33.6 metres (110 feet, 3 inches), or 35.4 metres (116 feet, 3 inches) if winglets are included.[21]

Payload will be 20.4 metric tonnes. Its cruise speed will be Mach 0.785 and it will have a maximum altitude of 12,100 metres (39,800 feet).[21]

There will be two variants. The standard version will have a range of 4,075 km (2,200nm), with the extended-range version able to fly 5,555 km (3,000nm).[21]

According to a film shown by Comac at the 2010 Zhuhai Airshow, the company plans to build six different models of the aircraft: a base passenger aircraft with 168 seats, as well as stretched and shrunk passenger versions, business jet and freighter models, and a type designated only as "special".[4]


The Comac C919 is intended to be a new entrant in the market of commercial airliners. Ongoing fuel price increases, being especially damaging to the low-cost flying model, was probably the main reason for Ryanair's interest in the project. Generally, the low-cost airlines change planes frequently to avoid paying too much for fuel, because their model focus on making as many flights as possible. Direct competitor - Boeing 737 unit cost of US$ 78.3-108.3 million,[22] means that target price for this airplane should be lower. The Airbus A320 costs even more, from US$71.9 million to US$120.5 million.[23] The Comac developers have not announced a price tag for each plane, although based on industry speculation current orders for 2012 could be worth more than US$26 billion.[24] This with 2012 orders for 380 examples,[25] lead to projected average price of about $68 million.

Some experts believe the C919 will not be competitive either technologically or commercially when it enters service given the plane's strong dependence on foreign suppliers. In particular, the price of the engines is one of the key cost factors in aircraft manufacturing, and they will probably be bought from CFM International Inc. (LEAP-X1C engine), the same company that sells the CFM International CFM56 used by direct competitors.[26] In 2013, state-owned newspaper Global Times complained that an Aviation Week editorial about the bleak prospects for the aircraft "maliciously disparaged the future outlook for the C919".[27]

Orders and deliveries[edit]

At the 2010 Zhuhai Airshow, Comac announced orders for 55 C919 aircraft from six airlines, with an additional 45 options. The purchasing airlines or lessors included China Eastern Airlines, Air China, Hainan Airlines, China Southern Airlines, CDB Leasing Company, and GE Capital Aviation Services.[28]

On 20 October 2011, Chinese leasing company ICBC Leasing announced an order for 45 C919s, as well as an agreement to be the launch customer for the aircraft.[29] On November 11, 2014, Comac announced at the 2014 Zhuhai Airshow that China Merchants Bank's aircraft leasing division made a firm commitment for 30 C919s, and that total orders were now up to 450 aircraft.[30]

Production of the first C919 testing prototype began on December 9, 2011.[31] The flight testbed was expected to enter final assembly in 2014, and perform its first flight sometime in 2015.[32] However, as of the 2014 Zhuhai Airshow, the first flight has been delayed to 2015, with the first delivery delayed to 2018.[33]


Customer Order Options Notes
ABC Financial Leasing[34] 45 0 Leasing company owned by Agricultural Bank of China
Air China 20 0 Beijing based airline
BOC Aviation[35] 20 0 Wholly owned by Bank of China, former leasing company of Singapore
BOCOMM Leasing[36] 30 0 Leasing company and unit of Shanghai based Bank of Communications
CCB Financial Leasing[37] 50 0 Leasing company owned by China Construction Bank and Bank of America
CDB Leasing Company 10 0 Leasing company and unit of Beijing based China Development Bank
China Aircraft Leasing Company (CALC) 20 0 Leasing company based in Hong Kong
China Eastern Airlines 20 0 Shanghai based airline
China Southern Airlines 20 0 Guangzhou based airline
GECAS (General Electric Capital Aviation Services) 20 0 Leasing company based in Stamford, CT and Shannon, Ireland; unit of General Electric
Hainan Airlines 20 0 Haikou based airline under Grand China Air
Hebei Airlines 20 0 Shijiazhuang based airline
ICBC Leasing 45 0 Leasing company of Beijing, China based Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
Industrial Bank Financial Leasing Co Ltd[38] 20 0 Leasing company of Fuzhou, China based Industrial Bank Co.
Joy Air[39] 20 0 Xi'an based airline
Sichuan Airlines 20 0 Chengdu based airline
China Merchants Bank 30 0 Chinese bank's aircraft leasing division
Huaxia Financial Leasing[30] 20 0 Leasing unit of Huaxia Bank
Total 450 0


C919-Mixed C919-All ECO C919-High Density
Flight crew 2
Seating capacity 156 (2-class) 168 (1-class) 174 (1-class)
Seat pitch base line 12 pax 38in - 144 pax 32in 168 pax 32in 174 pax 30in
Length 38.9 metres (127 ft 7 in)
Wingspan 35.8 metres (117 ft 5 in)
Wing area 129.15 square metres (1,390 square feet)
Wing Sweepback
Height 11.95 metres (39 ft 2 in)
Cabin width 3.9 metres (12 ft 10 in)
Cabin height 2.25 metres (7 ft 5 in)
Aisle width
Seat width
Typical empty weight
Maximum take-off weight 170,400 pounds (77,300 kg) extended range
Range fully loaded 4,075 km (2,200 nmi) 5,555 km (2,999 nmi)
Max. operating speed Mach 0.785 900 kilometres (560 mi) (extended range)
Normal cruise speed 834 kilometres (518 mi)
Take off run at MTOW
Service Ceiling 12,100 metres (39,700 ft)
Powerplants (2x) CFM International LEAP 1C
Engine thrust 25,000–30,000 lbf (110,000–130,000 N)

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists


  1. ^ a b Ren, Daniel (22 May 2014). "China's first large airliner delayed by technology problems". (South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd.). Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  2. ^ "China names first jumbo jet C919, to take off in 8 years". Xinhua News Agency. 6 March 2009. Retrieved 8 September 2009. 
  3. ^ Lagorce, Aude (December 21, 2009). "Safran, GE win contract for engines to upcoming Chinese jet". MarketWatch. Retrieved 2010-03-20. 
  4. ^ a b "Comac plans six C919 models targeting Airbus and Boeing". Flightblogger ( blog). 16 November 2010. Retrieved 23 November 2010. [dead link]
  5. ^ Perrett, Bradley (24 May 2013). "Further Delays On Comac C919 Program Push First Flight To 2015". Aviation Daily. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  6. ^ "China unveils jet at Asia's biggest air show". Agence France-Presse. 8 September 2009. Retrieved 8 September 2009. 
  7. ^ MANTHORPE, JONATHAN (28 January 2013). "China's airliner industry ambitions still a distant dream". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 2 February 2013. [dead link]
  8. ^ a b "Zhuhai10: COMAC releases C919 specifications". Flight Global. 16 November 2010. Retrieved 23 November 2010. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Airbus to Seek Alliances as Rivals Try to Sell Big Planes Bloomberg
  11. ^ Ryanair and Comac (Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China) Sign C 919...
  12. ^ a b "C919 project at "crucial point" in detailed design - Comac". 25 November 2011. Archived from the original on 30 November 2011. Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  13. ^ "C919 project at "crucial point" in detailed design - Comac". 12 December 2012. Retrieved 12 February 2013. 
  14. ^ a b Aboulafia, R. Comac C919 Program Briefing. World Military & Civil Aircraft Briefing. 2010.
  15. ^ Pratt offers geared turbofan for China's C919 airliner
  16. ^ "Jumbo jet project boon to suppliers". China Daily. 27 August 2009. Retrieved 8 September 2009. 
  17. ^ COMAC C919 - program supplier guide[dead link]
  18. ^ "CFM to build LEAP-X engine in China after C919 deal". Retrieved 21 December 2009. 
  19. ^ "High Tech Nacelle for C919 Said To Be World First". Retrieved 7 September 2011. [dead link]
  20. ^ "Michelin to supply tyres for China's first commercial airliner". Michelin. 12 April 2011. Retrieved 12 June 2012. 
  21. ^ a b c Perrett, Bradley (8 September 2009). "Comac Begins Building C919 Structure". Aviation Week. Retrieved 8 September 2009. [dead link]
  22. ^ Commercial jet prices Boing Inc, November 2014
  23. ^ New Airbus aircraft list prices for 2014 Airbus International, January 2014
  24. ^ staff reporters Yu Dawei and Liang Dongmei (2012-12-18). "Comac C919 Airliner Project Flying in the Dark". Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  25. ^ "COMAC secures 50 C919 orders, eyes broader market - Xinhua |". 2012-11-13. Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  26. ^ [1][dead link]
  27. ^ "China Newspaper Slams Aviation Week For 'Oppressive Scheme'."
  28. ^ "Comac C919 lands orders from six customers for 100 jets". The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 16 November 2010. Retrieved 18 November 2010. 
  29. ^ "ICBC Leasing orders 45 C919s, becomes launch customer". 20 October 2011. Archived from the original on 20 October 2011. Retrieved 20 October 2011. 
  30. ^ a b "COMAC wins 20 orders for C919 from Huaxia Financial Leasing". Jan 29, 2015. 
  31. ^ COMAC begins pilot production of C919 jet - People's Daily Online
  32. ^ China's C919 large airplane schedule to take first flight in 2015 - People's Daily Online
  33. ^ "China Planemaker Gets New Orders in Fight With Airbus, Boeing". 11 November 2014. Retrieved 11 November 2014. 
  34. ^ China’s ABC Leasing orders 45 C919s
  35. ^ 中国C919大型客机参加新加坡航展 新获20架订单
  36. ^ 交银租赁与中国商飞签署30架C919订单协议
  37. ^ C919 orders signed between COMAC and CCBFL
  38. ^ 400 orders for C919 show sky-high confidence |Companies |
  39. ^ 中国商飞再获50架大飞机订单 新增幸福航空河北航空两客户

External links[edit]