COMAC C919, first analysis

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Nov. 04, 2015, ©. Leeham Co: COMAC rolled out China’s first modern airliner Monday. We have commented on its place in the market in a sister article. Here we will do a first analysis of its competitiveness compared to the established aircraft in the 150 to 200 seat single aisle segment.

The C919 is an aircraft which resembles another airliner which is assembled in China, the Airbus A320. Many think it is a carbon copy. While many dimensions and solutions are similar, there is enough original thinking on the aircraft to give China credit for having created their own first mainline airliner.

China is going the safe way and staying away from exotic solutions. Designing close to the most modern aircraft in this size bracket is no fault, it's being prudent. There is no prior knowledge how to do such an aircraft in the country and the A320 is not a bad model. How good is the final result? We do a first analysis with our proprietary aircraft model and check if COMAC’s claim of 5% better aerodynamics than A320 and lower operating costs holds water.


  • The C919 has the shape of an A320neo but with more modern nose and wingtips.
  • It is slightly longer than the A320 and has therefore one seat row more in the cabin.
  • COMAC has sensibly stayed with a fully conventional build-up of the aircraft. It has enough on its plate to learn the ropes of getting a mainline single aisle aircraft through flight testing and certification
  • The classical build and slightly larger dimension make for a heavier aircraft than A320neo. We check if its more modern wing can bring the performance past the A320neo benchmark.

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