China Eastern Airlines announced Thursday that it would buy 100 C919 aircraft in a deal worth $10 billion at list price, which would be the largest order ever for the plane built by the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC).
The public carrier said it had benefited from a “substantial discount” on the agreement and that the planes would be delivered in batches between 2024 and 2031. The list price of the C919 is $99 million, but the planes can be sold with discounts of up to 50%, especially for new models. The deal comes five months after the Chinese airliner, developed by state-owned COMAC to compete with single-aisle aircraft families A320neo of Airbus and 737 MAX of Boeing, made its first flight in May with China Eastern AirlinesThe Shanghai-based state-owned airline is the first user of the C919 and has purchased five aircraft, three of which have been delivered. The other two are expected to be delivered later this year.
Boeing is still waiting to resume deliveries of its best-seller 737 MAX to Chinese airlines, more than four years after their interruption following two fatal accidents. The company has been virtually excluded from new orders from Chinese carriers since 2017, in a context of tensions growing political and trade between Beijing And Washington.
China Eastern will receive five aircraft for delivery in 2024, while ten will be delivered each year from 2025 to 2027. From 2028 to 2030, 15 C919s will be delivered each year and the final 20 aircraft will be delivered in 2031.
Last week, GallopAira new airline based in Brunei, announced a letter of intent to purchase 30 aircraft from COMAC with a total value of $2 billion, which includes the first overseas purchases of the C919. The agreement includes precisely 15 aircraft orders ARJ21 of COMAC – including its cargo and business jet variants – and 15 of C919.