Outlook 2023 for China’s COMAC and Russia’s UAC

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By Bjorn Fehrm

Jan. 12, 2023, © Leeham News: China’s civil airliner OEM, COMAC, made significant progress during 2022. It achieved Chinese certification for its C919 158-seat domestic airliner in September last year, with the first delivery to the launch customer, China Eastern Airlines, in December. The first aircraft will be used in trial operations during 2023. The C919 follows the regional ARJ21, which has been in operation in China since 2016.

The progress, after several delays, of the COMAC programs is in stark contrast to the airliner progress of Russia's UAC. The slow progress for the SSJ100, MC-21, and Il-114 programs has now ground to a standstill since the invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing Western sanctions.

Figure 1. Test flight of the first series delivery C919 of China Eastern Airlines. Source: Wikipedia.

  • China and COMAC have made significant progress in 2022 and will gradually build a viable airliner industry from 2023 onwards with a regional and single-aisle offering.
  • The opposite is true of Russia’s UAC. A once viable airliner industry is now crushed by the Kremlin's decision to invade Ukraine.

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