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The problems the C919 may face[复制链接]
发表于 2021-7-31 21:56:14 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
The C919 will be the third commercial airliner designed and manufactured in China (The first and second being the Shanghai Y-10 and the ARJ21). According to plan, deliveries and the start of commercial operation are expected to be by the end of this year. However, if the C919 wants to be as successful as the A320, it will have to overcome several problems that may hinder its performance.

01 Is the Launch date feasible?
Despite its nearing commercial flight with OTT Airlines scheduled at the end of the year, there are still several tests yet to be conducted. These tests have been delayed due to tight border restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the  tests is the natural icing test planned to be conducted at Ontario, Canada. It was scheduled to be conducted this spring but later postponed to this autumn. The delay could be further extended, as the situation has not improved much over the past few months.


02 Is an international certificate obtainable?
To compete against the A320 and the 737, the C919 must open itself to the international market. To do that, the C919 likely has obtain an EASA or FAA airworthiness certificate. Getting an airworthiness certificate will be an arduous and lengthy process for COMAC, especially with rumours claiming that the FAA and EASA might favour western aircraft designs and place a higher standard towards the C919 to increase the chance of its rejection. Of course, a higher standard can be of merit. From a long term perspective, it could increase the reliability of the C919. After the MAX crises, there are also countries and regions which questioned the worthiness of the EASA and FAA certificate, and decided to certify planes on their own. This might give the C919 a better chance of competing with well-established and leading manufactures like Airbus and Boeing in the global aviation market.

03 Will a shorter range lead to its demise?
The third and foremost problem with this aircraft type is its range. With a similar passenger capacity compared to the popular narrow-body jets (A320-200NEO and 737 MAX 8), its range of 2200 nm is dwarfed by the A320-200NEO's 3400 nm. That is a whopping 1200 nm (∼2222.4km) difference. Even the smaller A220-300 (also called the CS300) has more range. This means that Airbus can easily top the C919 by simply stretching the A220's fuselage to create the proposed 'A220-200', which will likely receive a 3000 nm range. Even the Russian MC-21 by UAC receives a 3000 to 3240 nm range. Fortunately, COMAC has plans to build a long-range version of the C919, though its entry into service may not occur until a few years later. Fortunately, the 2200 nm range will still be enough for domestic flights in its primary market, China. The distance of some of the longest routes in China (e.g. Shanghai to Urumqi) is only around 1700 nm.


04 What about a alternate energy?
Recently, decreasing a plane's carbon footprint has become a prominent focus for many mainstream aircraft manufacturers. Although the Airbus Hydrogen plane and other more eco-friendly planes will not enter into service until 2035, it will be an excellent move for COMAC to consider a variant that uses alternative energy for their aircraft. Of course, COMAC still has plenty of time, so we shall not dwell on this any longer.

05 Determining the C919s success
Despite all of this, many companies in the aviation industry see potential in the C919. A few years ago, the CEO of Ryanair signed an agreement with COMAC, promising an order for aircraft as soon as they provide a 200 seat variant of the C919. This suggests that Ryanair may order over 100 planes to replace their MAX 8200s and maintain fleet commonality. And this will be a perfect opportunity for COMAC to prove their strength in the global theatre. Of course, there is a possibility this is just a Ryanair grand scheme to deceive Boeing and acquire a better price over future orders, as the 100+ planes they ordered recently would serve them far beyond 2035. In addition to the Ryanair promise, Airbus also seems to recognize the potential of the C919. Airbus CEO, Guillaume Faury, said at a media conference that 'There are many challenges and I think it's too early to say to what degree [COMAC] will be able to compete with Boeing and Airbus. But we are taking them seriously and we are watching carefully what's happening there.' He also said, 'It will start slowly, reaching at the beginning probably only the Chinese airlines, but we believe it will progressively become a decent player. We will go from a duopoly to a triopoly on the single-aisle probably by the end of the decade.' I personaly consider the recognition by Airbus significant, as Airbus came from similar origins decades ago with their revolutionary design principle and vision. I believe COMAC and C919 will also one day become a sophisticated aircraft type through the modifications after the entry into operation, and find a position to compete against the A320 and 737 global. In other words, the C919 is equipped with some of the latest technologies, such as ranked winglets, and almost the same power plant as the 737 MAX (LEAP-1B) and A320NEO (LEAP-1A) (C919 uses LEAP-1C with C standing for COMAC). Although the lift of import tax between the EU and USA and the potential of the two parties imposing measures over COMAC might be an obstacle on C919's path to becoming a new successful narrow-body aircraft, I believe it will one day reach success.


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