What's new

Can China's Comac break up the Airbus-Boeing duopoly?


Jan 6, 2016
Reaction score

Can China's Comac break up the Airbus-Boeing duopoly?

foreign markets.

Made by the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac), the passenger aircraft has been touted as the “dream of a nation” by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

If successful, the C919 would offer airlines an alternative to the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 families.

However, there are still several hurdles Comac would need to clear before it could take on the French and American aerospace giants’ dominance.

Today, the bulk of the C919 orders, which can be outfitted with up to 192 seats, are from domestic carriers and Chinese companies that lease aircraft to airlines.

GallopAir, a new Brunei-based airline, is the first carrier outside of China to order the C919. They have ordered 15 C919s and 15 ARJ21s, Comac’s small jet aircraft.

The airline will launch at the end of 2024 with the ARJ21, according to its CEO Cham Chi.

“As a customer and operator of China’s Comac products, we can get financial support from China’s import-export bank, and also central banks,” Cham told CNBC in an interview.

According to Cham, Comac said it would consider creating aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul support for its aircraft in Brunei.

“For the first and second aircraft, we’ll still need to fly to Shanghai for MRO,” he said. “After three to five aircrafts have been delivered, then we can start MRO in Brunei.”

The future production rate, especially for the C919, remains in question for Comac.

“It’s a big question, having only delivered four aircraft over the last several years,” Adam Cowburn, managing director of Alton Aviation Consultancy told CNBC.

“Industry analysts will look at production rate to understand at what rate they are going to start to meaningfully chip away at the market share of Boeing and Airbus. Our models predict that was still quite some time out,” Cowburn said.

Brendan Sobie, an independent analyst from Sobie Aviation said that Comac’s aspiration is to have international sales, though it will take time.

“Airlines want that third option after Airbus and Boeing, particularly given Boeing’s issues recently,” he told CNBC.

Boeing has been hit with a multitude of safety issues, particularly involving their Boeing 737 Max.

“It’s still early to say whether [Comac] is a serious competitor in the long run,” Brendan added.

Watch the video above to learn more about Comac’s origins, and whether it has what it takes to disrupt Airbus and Boeing.
Top Bottom