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Artist's impression of the COMAC C919. (Image: COMAC)


The COMAC C919 is a narrowbody, twin-engined airliner being developed in China. With around 150 seats it is in the same size-class as the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737.

The C919 is developed by the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), which announced the project in 2008. The aircraft is part of China's long-term goal to break the Airbus and Boeing duopoly on the airliner market. China currently is the biggest customer for narrowbody airliners and wants to build them itself. The C919 will compete with the A320 and 737 and also the Russian Irkut MS-21. To compete effectively on the world market, COMAC wants to have the aircraft certified according to western standards.

The C919 incorporates Western built engines, avionics and other systems. It will be powered by the CFM International LEAP-1C turbofan, but China has expressed the intention to also develop its own turbofan engine for the aircraft in the long term. For the airframe COMAC still makes extensive use of aluminium alloy. The intention was to use carbonfiber composites for the center wing box, but this was later changed to aluminium as well. The aircraft is about the same size as the A320. Like in the A320 and 737 the passengers sit six-abreast. Assembly takes place in Shanghai.

COMAC C919 test aircraft COMAC intends to develop an aircraft family similar to the Airbus A320 Family, with a shortened and a stretched version. A freighter model and a corporate jet version are also planned. The first A320-sized version will carry up to 168 passengers over 4,075 km (2,200nm). An extended-range variant will fly up to 5,555 km (3,000 nm).

The maiden flight was originally planned for 2014, but this was delayed until 5 May 2017. The first production aircraft would have to be delivered in 2016, but this will take a few years after the first flight.

In spring 2018 COMAC is claiming to have signed orders for 815 aircraft from 28 customers, mostly Chinese customers. The US leasing company GECAS ordered twenty. In June 2011 the Irish low-cost airline Ryanair showed its interests in the project by signing an agreement to cooperate on the development of the C919, but so far didn't place an order.

COMAC claims now to have secured 815 orders for the C919 from 28 customers in China and other countries.

COMAC C919 Specifications

COMAC C919 first flight Wingspan: 35.8 m (117 ft 5 in). Length: 38.9 m (127 ft 7 in). Height: 11.95 m (39 ft 2 in).
Max. take-off weight: 77,300 kg (170,400 lb).
Passengers: 156-174. Range: 4,075 km (3,000 nm). Cruise speed: 834 km/h (450 kts).
Engines: two CFM International LEAP 1C turbofans (25,000-30,000 lb - 110-130 kN).
(Photo: COMAC)

Main competitors of the MS-21 are:

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