Singapore Airshow: China's home-made C919 airliner receives 40 orders in its international debut

China first flew its home-made C919 narrow-body airliner at an international aviation event on Tuesday, and secured more orders for it and the ARJ21 regional jet on the opening day of the Singapore Air Show.

The C919 aircraft flew over the Changi Exhibition Centre, marking its official debut during the largest aviation event in the Asia-Pacific region.

Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) said the C919's international debut alongside the ARJ21 highlights “continued progress in the development of China's commercial aircraft,” the state-owned manufacturer said Tuesday.

COMAC also announced that it has signed a deal with Tibet Airlines to purchase 40 C919 aircraft and 10 ARJ21 aircraft.

Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Chairman He Dongfeng witnesses a signing ceremony with Tibet Airlines during the Singapore Airshow at Changi Exhibition Centre. Photo: Reuters
Airplanes are designed to be Suitable for high plateaus, With Tibet Airlines the first customer for the new model being developed by the Shanghai-based state-owned manufacturer.

Comac said it will also conduct “marketing campaigns to strengthen communications with customers and partners” during the air show, adding that it is committed to better serving Southeast Asian customers, who are seen as a key market for the C919 and ARJ21 aircraft.

The C919 is designed to compete with the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320.

Two C919s and three ARJ21s will remain on static display during the six-day event, while they are also expected to perform flying displays.

Henan Civil Aviation Development Investment Group, another Chinese state-owned enterprise, also agreed to purchase six ARJ21 aircraft on Tuesday, including firefighting, medical service and emergency aircraft versions, COMAC added.

There are also growing questions about Boeing's share of the narrowbody passenger jet market after safety issues with its 737 MAX planes.

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The US manufacturer is listed as an exhibitor at the air show, but has not displayed any of its commercial passenger aircraft in Singapore.

The Airbus A350 wide-body passenger jet was part of a group of commercial jets, helicopters and fighter jets that took part in the airshow on Tuesday.

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A look inside the Chinese-made civil passenger jets, the ARJ21 and C919

A look inside the Chinese-made civil passenger jets, the ARJ21 and C919

Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines took delivery of its fourth C919 aircraft in January, while COMAC said it had received more than 1,000 orders for the narrow-body passenger jet, most of them from Chinese airlines.

China has invested heavily in commercial aircraft manufacturing in a bid to increase self-reliance to replace imports amid growing competition with the United States in advanced technology.

Many of the main parts used in the C919, including its engine, They are produced by foreign companies and joint ventures.

The narrow-body passenger plane made its debut outside mainland China in December after a flight test in Hong Kong. It was also displayed with the ARJ21 at the city's international airport.

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