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China Southern joins the queue at COMAC and orders 100 C919 narrowbodies 

China Southern Airlines has become the latest Chinese carrier to enter into an agreement with aircraft manufacturer COMAC (Commercial Aviation Corporation of China) to purchase 100 C919 narrow-bodied jets. The announcement comes just days after fellow Chinese carrier Air China also placed an order for 100 examples of the twinjet.  

In a public filing placed on April 29, 2024, Guangzhou-based China Southern stated that the order will partly be funded by its own “internal resources”, as well as by “loans or other finance arrangement by banks or other institutions”. Setting out the broader terms of the agreement with COMAC, the carrier stated that while the deal is valued at $9.9 billion in terms of list prices, the airline has secured price concessions” from the manufacturer as part of the order.  

“The purchase of aircraft aligns with the strategy of our country and effectively meets the medium- to long-term fleet development needs of the company,” said China Southern in a statement. It added that “the Chinese domestic market demand for narrowbodies is showing a significant upward trend”.  

The new C919s are expected to be delivered to China Southern between late 2024 and 2031 – a similar delivery schedule to that secured by the other two main Chinese-based customers for the aircraft, Air China and China Eastern. While Air China is also a new customer for the type, China Eastern has operated the C919 since taking delivery of its first aircraft in May 2023. 

N509FZ / Wikimedia Commons

On April 26, 2024, Air China announced its own order for 100 C919s, in a deal reported to be worth around $10.8 billion in list prices. It cited the “optimization of fleet structure and long-term supplement of fleet capacity” among the reasons for the order.  

“The transaction is in line with the development plan of the company and the market demand, which is conducive to the group’s optimization of fleet structure and long-term supplement of fleet capacity,” Air China said in a statement.  

The COMAC C919 is pitched directly onto a highly competitive playing field, up against its Western rivals the Boeing 737 MAX family and the Airbus A320neo family, both of which have order backlogs of several resulting from the surge in demand following the pandemic. These backlogs are making carriers explore other more readily available alternatives, one of which is the C919.    

N509FZ / Wikimedia Commons

Other operators that have announced orders for the C919 are Tibet Airlines (which placed an order for 40 aircraft in February 2024), Urumqi Air, and Hainan Airlines which has ordered the type for its subsidiary Suparna Airlines.  

Both China Southern and Air China are already existing operators of COMAC’s other product, its ARJ21 regional jet, with China Southern having 26 in service while Air China has 20 operating in its fleet.  

The post China Southern joins the queue at COMAC and orders 100 C919 narrowbodies  appeared first on AeroTime.

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