HNA Aviation buys 100 planes from Comac, giving China’s home-grown aircraft builder a leg up in its bid to catch up with Airbus and Boeing
- HNA signed a contract for 60 of Comac’s C919 single-aisle passenger jet and 40 of the ARJ21 regional jetliners yesterday in Shanghai
- By the end of last year, Comac received orders for 1,035 C919 airliners, its flagship product to rival Boeing’s 737 and Airbus’ A320
The procurement is a boost for Comac in helping China to fulfil President Xi Jinping’s aspiration to challenge the dominance of Boeing and Airbus in the home or even the global market. China is aiming for a 10-per cent share of domestic aviation by 2035. By the end of last year, Comac received orders for 1,035 C919 airliners, its flagship product to rival Boeing’s 737 and Airbus’ A320.
“The two parties will take advantage of this opportunity to deepen cooperation and further integrate the civil aviation transport industry with commercial airline manufacturing to build a strong nation in terms of civil aviation and manufacturing,” according to the statement.
Comac can break the duopoly of Boeing and Airbus in the home market because of the size of China’s aviation industry and strong policy support, according to Berlin-based think tank Mercator Institute for China Studies.
Its ARJ 21 regional jet can fly 95 passengers and has a flight range between 2,225 kilometres and 3,700 kilometres.
Hainan Airlines, the Shanghai-listed unit of HNA Aviation, had a fleet of 342 planes, including 260 Boeing airliners and 64 Airbus jets by the end of 2022, according to its annual report.
HNA operates several carriers, the largest of which is Hainan Airlines. It also operates regional carriers like Tianjin Airlines and Fuzhou Airlines. It is the latest customer for the C919, which can carry between 156 to 168 passengers in typical configurations, with an operational range of 3,000 nautical miles (5,555 kilometres).
China Eastern Airlines bought four C919s in May 2022 for US$99 million each. The first plane was delivered in December after undergoing 100 hours of test flights. The plane will be put into commercial use after it meets a series of flight requirements such as operational safety and maintenance reliability, according to the Xinhua News Agency.
China’s aviation industry is on the recovery after the nation dropped all the Covid curbs in November, unleashing pent-up demand for traveling. Data from online travel agency Trip.com shows that searches for air tickets and hotels from the coming May Golden Week holiday that starts on Saturday, have exceeded the pre-pandemic level.