China’s COMAC – an alternative to Boeing and Airbus?

The Ryanair deal sees COMAC emerge as real competition to the major players

Could the Chinese aerospace manufacturer COMAC be about to challenge to dominance of Boeing and Airbus? The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China has signed an agreement with Ryanair to develop the C919, a new mid-size commercial jet, and, according to Ryanair, the deal creates real competition for the two industry leaders.

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said his company is “seriously interested in the development of a 200 seat variant of the C919 aircraft.” He added, “We are pleased that there is now a real alternative to Boeing and Airbus.”

Aside from Ryanair, Comac is expected to attract serious attention in the Asia-Pacific market over the next twenty years. The company’s position in the market has at least one major company seeking to share resources. Over the next 20 years, the Asia-Pacific region is expected (by Boeing) to seek nearly 12,000 new commercial aircraft valued at $1.5 trillion. Financially, that figure commands more than one-quarter of the total market.

Airbus believes that in the period up to 2030, the region should command nearly 70 percent of the commercial aircraft delivered. Aside from any potential “home field” advantage in the Asia-Pacific region, Ryanair’s relationship could add an inroad and extend Comac’s influence in the European market.

Comac’s C919 is expected to enter the market in 2019 to compete directly against the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737.