Order Starts COMAC’s Singapore Airshow: Can They Get More?

Order Starts COMAC's Singapore Airshow: Can They Get More?
3GO*CHN-405/mjordan_6, CC BY-SA 3.0 GFDL 1.2, via Wikimedia Commons

With COMAC starting out the Singapore Airshow with a confirmed order from Tibet Airlines, we ask the following: Will they get the global reach they need?

To establish this, we need to take a look further into the Chinese aircraft manufacturer, and whether they could take things further global in terms of their customer list.

Without further ado, let’s get into it…

COMAC Singapore Airshow Order with Tibet Airlines…

Order Starts COMAC's Singapore Airshow: Can They Get More?
AppleSteveGao, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tibet Airlines of China finalised an order with COMAC this week at the Singapore Airshow for 40 C919 and 10 ARJ21 aircraft.

It is understood the number of C919s were ordered due to the Chinese manufacturer agreeing to join up and research a variant of the aircraft that could seat between 140-160 passengers as well as having the ability to take off and land at high-altitude airports, as per reporting from Reuters.

Such an order has been prevalent in the backdrop of the C919 itself making it’s airshow debut outside of Chinese territory in Singapore, indicating that the manufacturer is looking towards more of a global presence in terms of customer-base.

With the ARJ21 being a regional jet, the focus has been on the C919 from COMAC, in terms of getting into competitive battle against Boeing’s 737 MAX as well as Airbus’ A320neo Family aircraft.

Can They Expand Beyond Their Current Customer List for More Global Reach?

Order Starts COMAC's Singapore Airshow: Can They Get More?
Peng Chen, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons


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For the COMAC C919 and ARJ21, the vast majority of their customers in terms of orders so far have been airlines or leasing companies based in China.

There have been the odd orders with lessors overseas such as AerCap & GECAS, but nothing majorly concrete at this present time.

GallopAir in Brunei, as well as the Republic of Congo & TransNusa in Indonesia have ordered some ARJ21s, the focus will now to begin the increase in terms of backlog, which means having to get more onto the international stage.

It is key to note that COMAC has been at the likes of Farnborough and Paris for Airshows, as well as Singapore, but haven’t had much success in those arenas as of yet.

Of course, all eyes will be on what their presence will look like at the Paris Air Show this coming June, to see if they will have something similar to their time in southern Asia.

So rather it be a question of “Can they expand beyond China”, it should be a statement of “They have to expand further beyond the country”, as homeland carriers can only order so many aircraft.


Ken Chen, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

What this week’s order from Tibet Airlines highlights is that COMAC still have a lot of work to do at airshows such as Singapore.

Yes, it may be closer to home, but if they want the C919 and ARJ21 to be a global success, they need to continue on the strategy of expanding their presence overseas.

Competition against the likes of Airbus & Boeing may be difficult to begin with, but they do have the potential to steal sales in the years down the line, especially as delivery slots become scarce in Europe and beyond.

But for now, let’s see how the rest of their airshow goes, as well as for 2024 as a whole.

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By James Field - Editor in Chief 4 Min Read
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