History of flight started when Wright brothers flew their crude flyer on the 17th of December, 1903. With a long and rich history of more than a hundred years, aviation has had a central place in our lives, revolutionizing many aspects of it from transportation to warfare.
When it comes to aircraft production and sales, Boeing and Airbus have been dominating the global market for a long time and they will probably keep doing so in the near future. But as China becomes the largest aviation market in the world, surpassing United States of America and Japan, we can expect more Chinese aircraft manifacturing companies to become major players in the global aviation industry.
According to analysts, Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), a state owned aerospace manifacturing company from China can challange the duopoly of today’s aircraft manifacturing industry in the future. Since we might start hearing more about COMAC soon, let’s learn more about the company’s history and most popular aircraft types produced by COMAC.
History of COMAC, Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd.
COMAC was established jointly by Aviation Industry Corporation of China, Aluminum Corporation of China, Baosteel Group Corporation, Sinochem Group, Shanghai Guosheng Corporation Limited and State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission on the 11th of May, 2008 in Shanghai with a registered capital of $2.7 billion.
Its first aircraft Comac ARJ21 Xiangfeng made its first flight on the 28th of November 2008 and sent a very important message to the world; that China can manifacture commercial aircraft.
To this day the company has built a second type of plane as well, the Comac C919. The development of Comac C919 started in 2008 with the first model manifactured on the 2nd of November 2015 and it made its first flight on the 5th of May 2017. Comac C919 is still being tested and it is planned to enter service in 2021.
Along with these two examples, the company is working on its 3rd model in collaboration with Russia, the CRAIC CR929, which is planned to be a wide-body aircraft with 250 to 290 seats capacity. The CRAIC CR929 is expected to take its first flight in 2023 or later.
But the company is not exactly a success story yet, in January 2021 the US government banned Americans from investing in COMAC, due to allegedly developing new technologies to support the People’s Liberation Army.
Most Popular Aircraft Models by COMAC
Comac ARJ21 Xiangfeng
The development of this model started in March 2002 by ACAC consortium, a subsidiary of China Aviation Industry Corporation I. Due to delays in the design work the first prototype was introduced on the 21st of December 2007. The ACAC consortium is now a part of COMAC.
Primary user of the 78-90 seat regional jet is Chengdu Airlines and it was first introduced on the 28th of June by the same company.
This model has a similar layout to Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 and has a seat capacity of 150 to 190. The narrow-body jet has 305 orders and 658 letters of intent as of as of 31 August 2018.
Length of Comac C919 is 38.9 meters and its wingspan is 35.8 meters. The jet weighs 42 tonnes when empty and its extended range is 5,555 kilometers.
Comac C919 is planned to be available for commercial flights in 2021.
Anon. (n.d.), Comac, Wikipedia, Retrieved 2 March 2021 < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comac >
CAPA Centre for Aviation Editor (16 April 2020), China becomes the largest aviation market in the world, CAPA Centre for Aviation, Retrieved 2 March 2021
Virginia Harrison (28 April 2019), Can China’s plane-maker take on Boeing and Airbus?, BBC News, Retrieved 2 March 2021
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