LONDON – Nigerian Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika recently said the Chinese-built Comac C919 aircraft would be considered for the fleet as the fleet of the fledging carrier Nigeria Air is growing. The fleet is expected to reach 30 planes by the year 2025.
As a Nigerian start-up airline Nigeria Air, which will serve as Nigeria’s national carrier, really seems to be taking rapid steps forward in its process of becoming an airline.
In the latest news, Nigeria Air is now eyeing the Chinese passenger jet, the Comac C919 as a potential addition to their fleet, as an expansion for their Boeing and Airbus fleet.
The Comac C919, which just got its certification just a few days ago, has really been a project that’s moved forward with quite the pace. In Early 2022, the first Comac C919 for a customer completed its maiden test flight, marking yet another step forward in the aircraft’s development and certification process.
To Reuters, Aviation Minister of Nigeria, Hadi Sirika, said:- “We haven’t looked at that C919. But if it’s as good as the others then why not,”
The C919s road to certification
First introduced in 2008, the COMAC C919 is a Chinese-built narrow-body airliner, developed by COMAC, a Chinese aircraft manufacturer.
The first prototype of the aircraft entered development in 2011, with it being ready in 2015. Two years later, the Comac C919 embarked on its maiden flight.
Powered by either CFM LEAP engines, or ACAE CJ-1000A turbofans, the C919 will be able to carry between 156 and 168 passengers in its normal operating range of 3000 nautical miles.
Already in 2018, the Comac C919 program had over 305 firm orders for the type, either by Chinese airlines or lessors, including over one thousand commitments. Nigeria Air is now the latest airline to show potential interest in the aircraft type, just days after a longed-for moment occurred.
A few months ago, AviationSource released an analysis on the Comac C919 project, discussing if the project is enough to break the Boeing-Airbus duopoly, as the C919 project is seen by many, as a strong competitor for Boeing and Airbus. With a huge base of interest and orders, this is of course a question that comes to mind.
With the first Comac C919 produced for a customer, embarking on its maiden test flight just two months ago, the Comac C919, on September 29th, finally got issued a type certification, marking a massive milestone 11 years in the making, as the aircraft is now certified for passenger flights.
In 2021, Comac official representatives said they were hoping to achieve certification and deliveries of the first C919s, by the end of 2021. Though, this did not happen at that time, but has and will happen in 2022, with the first deliveries going to China Eastern (MU)
As of September 30th, 2022, Global aviation sources counts 310 orders, 47 options and 649 Letter of Intent (LoI’s), leading up to the C919 program having a total of 1014 commitments.
As Nigeria Air is seeing potential in adding the newly certified C919 aircraft to its fleet, it remains unsure whether this will happen or not. As they are a start-up flag carrier, there are probably more things to take care of than deciding on a fleet addition, before the main fleet itself has even arrived.
Though it’s not impossible that the C919 will make its entry into the Nigerian aviation market with this carrier, as it hasn’t been ruled out by the airline officials, or the Nigerian Aviation Minister.