Tibet Airlines Orders 50 Comac Jets

Daniel Fowkes
20 Feb 2024
· Aircraft 
· Airlines 
Tibet Airlines has announced a purchase for 50 Comac jets as it looks to expand its fleet and commit to the C919 and ARJ21.

On Day 1 of the 2024 Singapore Airshow, Tibet Airlines announced a purchase of up to 50 aircraft from China’s COMAC, which has a strong presence at the show.

Tibet Airlines will purchase 40 C919 and 10 ARJ21 jets as part of the latest commitment. The latter is designed for more regional operations, while the C919 is being pitched as the ideal single-aisle jet for the future.

The airline is based in China and has long expressed its desire to continue developing the line of aircraft produced by Comac to enhance the manufacturer’s portfolio.

Notably, this has included a C919 Plateau, which would, if released, focus on addressing some of the visible concerns for high-altitude airports. Now, an order confirmation analysts argue makes sense.

The Tibet Airlines Fleet

Tibet Airlines has a fleet of 42 in-service aircraft spread across all Airbus-produced planes; thus, a commitment to Comac will see the airline shift towards a new manufacturer.

The fleet includes the A319 with 27 units in-service, 4 A319neos and just over 10 A320-200s. While 45 jets are operational, Cirium data indicates the airline has three units in storage, all Airbus A319neos.

Comac’s Struggle To Become Global

A new commitment comes from Tibet Airlines for Comac, and thus, the likelihood of a robust future relationship stemmed from the pair entering strategic cooperation at the end of 2023.

However, Comac has primarily struggled to pitch its aircraft programs outside of China and at the moment, key flying Comac jets are not certified elsewhere either. China Eastern introduced the C919 last year, but this hasn’t been possible for broader flying.

Comac has long had ambitious targets outlined for the industry and its programs, but achieving those has become more complex than imagined. While substantial orders have come in from Chinese customers, it hopes to continue taking the market share away from Airbus and Boeing.

GallopAir, a start-up in Brunei, said it would order Comac-produced aircraft. However, this airline has yet to get off the ground, and noticeable question marks will be present until that can occur.

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