China's C919 Aircraft Could Land in Africa, Germany, Thailand
Preliminary forecasts suggested that China's first jet liner will only likely find its way in the Chinese market, but latest predictions from analysts for short to mid-term suggest that Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC)'s C919 could also land outside the great wall.
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Africa reportedly made some pre-orders for the C919, according to Chinese news outlets as cited by Forbes. Aside from the fact that Africa has been receiving economic benefits from China, the C919 could also have cheap operation and maintenance expenses compared with other airline giants. China could also likely serve a good offer for African airlines as part of its economic favor chain. Several experts who bet on Africa also believe that Latin America could be a potential client for the C919.
Bangkok-based City Airways also reportedly made a few pre-orders from other nations. City Airways, which currently owns seven planes, grounded its only active plane in 2016 before a flight to Hong Kong because of safety concerns.
German start-up PuRen Airlines has also allegedly made seven pre-orders for the C919 in 2015. However, the airline declared insolvency and its plan to build up a German airport with the airline's launch apparently never took place.
Meanwhile, Chinese airlines make up to 90 percent of the 570 orders for the C919 so far, China Daily reported. Buyers include Air China, China Southern, China Eastern, Hainan Airlines, and Sichuan Airlines.
"It'll undergo several years of test flights before it's operational," Richard Bitzinger, senior fellow of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said. "And it'll probably fly only locally within China, for a while."
COMAC's C919, the two-aisle aircraft with 158 to 174 seats, successfully made its first test flight on Friday in Shanghai. It is a rival to the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737.