COMAC C919 Showcased in Hong Kong: Aiming for Global Market Penetration

The upcoming five-day visit to Hong Kong by the Chinese-built COMAC C919 narrowbody twinjet will mark the first time that the aircraft will be presented outside mainland China after receiving its certification in 2022. The COMAC-built aircraft will be showcased at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) from December 12 to 17, along with another airliner, the ARJ21. 


Hong Kong's Civil Aviation Department confirmed that the C919 will fly past Victoria Harbor on December 16. This model received certification from the Chinese authorities in September 2022 and started commercial service with China Eastern Airlines that same year in December. China Eastern Airlines currently operates two of these planes, and a third one is expected to arrive in December 2023. The aircraft has a seating capacity of approximately 164 passengers in a single-class configuration. 


Although the C919 has been exhibited at various Chinese-based airshows, this upcoming exhibition will be the first time the aircraft will be displayed outside mainland China. COMAC hopes that the visit to Hong Kong might pique the interest of overseas carriers as it competes directly with the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 families of commercial jets, but it is yet to obtain a single order for its twinjet from any airline outside China. On the other hand, the ARJ21 is doing slightly better than the C919, with approximately 100 planes operating with nine airlines, including TransNusa in Indonesia. 

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The rear-engined twinjet can accommodate up to 90 passengers in a single-class configuration. Fred Lam, CEO of HKIA operator Airport Authority Hong Kong, stated that "HKIA is honored to be the first airport outside the mainland to receive the C919 aircraft. We look forward to deepening collaborations with our partners on the mainland and contributing to the development of a world-class aviation industry for the country." Hong Kong-based organizations contributed to the early research and development of the C919. The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) invited Hong Kong's Civil Aviation Department to participate in the program, and a representative was sent to Shanghai in 2022 to participate in the C919 flight test program's completion. COMAC states that as part of its brief visit to Hong Kong, it will organize various meetings with youth groups "to share interesting facts about the knowledge and development of both the C919 and the ARJ21 aircraft."

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