Inside China’s new plane set to compete with Airbus and Boeing for global dominance

Will China finally be able to go mainstream?
  • It features eight business-class seats with a cradle shell and a small privacy screen
  • The plane is made by a Chinese state-owned firm, COMAC
  • It is designed to carry just under 200 passengers

Published on Feb 28, 2024 at 5:55PM (UTC+4)

Last updated on Feb 28, 2024 at 8:43PM (UTC+4)

Edited by Amelia Jean Hershman-Jones

The 2024 Singapore Airshow marked a historical moment for aviation as it was the international debut of China’s COMAC C919 passenger plane.

Developed by COMAC, a state-owned firm, the Chinese plane is set to compete with Boeing and Airbus on the international market.

After years of delays, the Chinese aircraft is finally set to launch internationally.

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Despite the passenger jet being out for a few years, it made its international debut only recently.

Unfortunately, only the Civil Aviation Administration of China has certified the new plane to fly in passenger service.

Stepping on board China’s COMAC C919 aircraft is a bit familiar as it closely resembles the Boeing 737 or Airbus A320.

The Chinese plane features eight business-class seats, with a cradle shell, and a small privacy screen in a 2-2 configuration.

The 156 economy seats are in the traditional 3-3 setup.

However, the COMAC C919 seems to have borrowed some tricks from the Airbus A220 by offering an extra half-inch width to the middle seats.

Even the galleys feel larger than the newer Airbus and Boeing models, as COMAC has not been tempted to squeeze in a few extra seats.

Although the Chinese plane sounds promising it still has a long way to go due to its competition and regulatory hurdles.

The base model of the COMAC C919 can only fly up to a maximum of 2,200 nautical miles.

However, both the Airbus 320 Neo and Boeing 737 Max 8 can fly up to 3,500 nautical miles.

This extended range is really important in the airline business as it can provide greater route flexibility for a plane.

The Chinese aircraft manufacturer has its work cut out for itself as its competition has a wide array of planes in its arsenal.

Airbus already has one of the largest and most spacious passenger aircraft in existence.

In addition to that, it is also developing a supersonic plane that can fly at up to 4.5 times the speed of sound.

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