China’s COMAC Expands C919 Jet Production Amid Surging Orders

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BEIJING,- China’s state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) is set to bolster its production capabilities for the indigenous C919 jets in Shanghai, revealed a project contractor.

According to the Reuters report, this move comes as the aerospace giant gears up to meet the surge in demand driven by a flurry of new orders.

The China Aviation Planning and Design Institute (Group) Co. Ltd. (AVIC-CAPDI), a key provider of aviation planning and construction services under state ownership, disclosed via its WeChat account at the close of April that it had clinched the contract for the second phase of the C919 large passenger aircraft batch production capacity construction project.

The project, situated in Pudong, Shanghai, boasts a sprawling total construction area of 330,000 square meters, aligning with COMAC’s headquarters location in the city. AVIC-CAPDI emphasized that upon completion, the project would adeptly cater to the future batch production requirements of the C919 large passenger aircraft.

This, it stressed, would significantly augment production efficiency, thereby fortifying the aircraft’s commercial operations and bolstering its competitiveness in the market for domestically manufactured large aircraft.

According to AVIC-CAPDI, the second phase of the project primarily encompasses the construction of an assembly plant, parts warehouse, and tarmac area. However, details regarding the initial phase remain undisclosed at present.

Despite being widely covered by local media on Monday, AVIC-CAPDI’s statement vanished from its official channels on Tuesday. Neither AVIC-CAPDI nor COMAC responded promptly to requests for comment on the matter.

The expansion of the production facility coincides with major orders from Air China and China Southern Airlines, two prominent carriers in China. Each airline has committed to purchasing 100 C919 jets, underlining the burgeoning commercial prospects of the aircraft. This strategic move aligns with Beijing’s aspirations to bolster its market share vis-à-vis industry behemoths Airbus and Boeing.

The C919, which has amassed over 1,000 orders thus far, predominantly from Chinese airlines and aircraft lessors, including China Eastern Airlines, the inaugural operator of the jet, which presently deploys five C919s across three domestic routes.

Last year, government-affiliated media outlet The Paper reported China’s ambition to achieve an annual production capacity of 150 C919s within a five-year timeframe.

China has articulated its ambition to attain broader international recognition for the C919 this year, with endeavors to secure certification from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency. Concurrently, it has been actively promoting the aircraft in Southeast Asia, signaling its intent to extend its footprint in global aviation markets.