China / Society

New airliner orders increase total to 430

By WANG WEN (China Daily) Updated: 2014-11-12 07:34

Thirty new orders have been received for the C919, the first large passenger aircraft to be made in China, taking the number placed for the airplane to 430.

The 30 orders from CMB Finance Leasing, a subsidiary of China Merchants Bank, were announced by Commercial Aircraft Corp of China on Tuesday at the 10th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, Guangdong province.

Vice-President Li Yuanchao watched the two sides sign the purchase contract at a ceremony. The 430 orders for the aircraft have come from 17 clients.

The C919 is expected to make its first flight by the end of 2015, and assembly work started in Shanghai in September, according to Jin Zhuanglong, chairman of the corporation.

Guo Guang, president of CMB Finance Leasing, said buying the C919 is an important strategy for the company to promote its aircraft leasing business.

"We have great confidence in China's aviation industry and COMAC," Guo added.

The ARJ21, the corporation's regional aircraft, has received 20 provisional orders from Comsys Leasing Co, a Hong Kong company, as well as three confirmed orders from the Ministry of Transport in the Republic of Congo. It will be the first African country to buy and operate the plane.

The new orders take the number received for the ARJ21 to 278. The aircraft is due to be delivered to Chengdu Airlines, its launch client, by the end of the year.

Cheng Gang, chairman of Comsys Leasing Co, said, "Airlines usually consider reliability and economic efficiency when they choose aircraft, and the ARJ21 is a good choice on both counts."

Cheng said he is optimistic about the market prospects for the ARJ21, and there could be opportunities for the airplane in Southeast Asian countries and even the Western market.

The leasing company, with 30 aircraft operated by several domestic airlines, has yet to decide which clients will operate the ARJ21, Cheng said, adding that it is also interested in the C919 but needs time to consider placing orders for it.

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