China Southern Orders 100 COMAC C919s

Daniel Fowkes
02 May 2024
· Aircraft 
· Airlines 
A COMAC C919 arrives in Shanghai - Pudong International Airport

China Southern Airlines has become the second Chinese company in a week to announce an order for COMAC jets.

A purchase included 100 incremental COMAC C919s, becoming a popular aircraft within the family.

China Southern says deliveries will run between 2024 and 2031 and, similarly to Air China, unveiled the order through the stock market.

Ultimately, such a deal is worth billions in list price value. However, heavy negotiations likely allowed the end price to drop significantly.

An Airbus Or Boeing Replacement?

China Southern currently operates many narrowbody aircraft types across Airbus and Boeing units. These include the A319, A320, and A321, with the CEO and Neo variants featured across both. Meanwhile, the company is also committed to 737NGS and 737 MAX jets.

COMAC views its offering in the C919 as the perfect competitor to the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX series. However, the manufacturer has struggled to garner interest outside of China.

COMAC sees its C919 jet as a perfect competitor to aircraft families such as the A320neo from Airbus – Photo: Don-vip

Additionally, aircraft from Airbus and Boeing are typically viewed as substantially more reliable. Customers also have stronger relationships with these manufacturers and thus not inclined to purchase from COMAC given the associated risks.

The COMAC Struggle

China Southern purchasing the COMAC C919 completes the big three airlines within the country committing to the Chinese manufacturer’s aircraft. China Southern, China Eastern and Air China have all backed the C919. Interestingly, these three state-owned carriers all committed to the same number of jets.

While it remains unclear what aircraft the C919 would eventually look to replace, China Southern views the aircraft as important to alleviate the capacity demand pressures being experienced.

COMAC has struggled despite its ambitious targets of entering more Western markets. Additionally, analysts and onlookers have criticised the integrity of the aircraft and whether they’ll ever be able to make a splash in places like Australia or the U.K.

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