< Reveal sidebar

Air China and China Southern Place 200 COMAC C919 Orders

The two airlines will join China Eastern which currently operates the type.

A COMAC C919 on display at the Singapore Airshow (Photo: Shutterstock)

On the evening of April 27, Air China released a statement that it was pursuing an order of 100 COMAC C919s with the Chinese manufacturer. Two days later, on April 29, China Southern released the statement and placed another 100 C919 orders with COMAC. Both orders will be delivered in 2024 and 2031.

For now, the big three Chinese airlines have all placed their 100 C919 orders, and China Eastern already has five C919s in operation.

Air China

In December 2023, Air China released a statement that it sought to issue more shares to finance its purchase of six COMAC C919s, which would be delivered in 2024. These six jets are believed to be among the newly announced 100-jet orders. Sources say on the Chinese social media platform Weibo that Air China will likely receive its first C919 in June.

Additionally, the Air China statement mentioned that the type of C919 it ordered was the extended-range configuration, which costs $108 million per jet. COMAC has not yet publicized this configuration of the C919; hence, the range and operational statistics are still unknown.

The inaugural flight for Air China’s C919 will likely depart from Beijing’s Capital International Airport, where the carrier is headquartered. Afterward, the C919 may appear in Shanghai, Chengdu, or Xi’an. All those are Chinese cities currently served by China Eastern C919s, so the local airports’ experience can help with any issues during the jet’s initial operations by Air China.

China Southern

This is the first time China Southern has placed an order for a COMAC C919. All 100 C919s are the standard ranged configuration, which costs $99 million per jet, slightly cheaper than the extended range configuration.

China Southern will likely explore routes in and out of Guangzhou for its C919. However, there is little experience with C919 ground operations in the airport; the next step is believed to be that China Eastern will start operating C919s on its Guangzhou routes to expand the expertise to local airports for future, larger-scale C919 operations.

Implications for Boeing and Airbus

So far, we can foresee around 400 operational C919s in China and worldwide by the 2030s. Such volume represents about 10% of all mainline commercial aircraft in China. Boeing and Airbus combined will likely still hold the vast majority of China’s commercial jet market. However, as COMAC starts to ramp up its production, its market share may continue to increase in the coming decades.

The operational and financial performance of the C919 has yet to be reported. COMAC and the Chinese government are seeking to fast-iterate and upgrade its narrowbody jet domestically while gaining certifications from the EASA and the FAA.

Lei Yan


  • Lei Yan

    Lei is from Inner Mongolia, China, and now lives in Guangzhou. He grew up in an aviation family, where his passion began. During his time at Penn State University, he studied Industrial Engineering specializing in operations research, and he graduated with an honor’s thesis on airport gate assignment optimization. Now, he is a Purchasing Manager with Procter & Gamble. In his free time, he enjoys flying, reading, and wandering around the city.

Subscribe to AirlineGeeks' Daily Check-In

Receive a daily dose of the airline industry's top stories along with market insights right in your inbox.

Related Stories

IndiGo Inks Its First Widebody Order With Airbus

Indian low-cost carrier IndiGo has placed a landmark order for 30 Airbus A350-900s with another 70 options. This is the…

Condor Takes Delivery of First A320neo

German leisure carrier Condor has taken delivery of its first Airbus A320neo aircraft, marking another step in the airline's fleet…

Aegean Invests in Four A321neos for Long Distance Routes

Aegean will take delivery of four Airbus A321neo aircraft equipped with extended-range capabilities. These aircraft will be used to service…