China’s Bank of Communications Financial Leasing (BoCom Leasing) is confident that it will be able to lease the Comac C919 to airlines outside of China after it has established itself within the country.
The Shanghai-based lessor ordered 30 of the 150-seat narrowbody jets in 2011. On the sidelines of the ISTAT Asia conference in Hong Kong, general manager Li Ling told Flightglobal that while Chinese carriers would receive the aircraft first, BoCom Leasing would look to place some aircraft overseas.
“The C919 is manufactured in China, and now the large customers are Chinese airlines, so we believe at the beginning our customers will mainly from China,” she says. “After the launch customers have proved the reliability and economics of the C919, it will go to the international market. It can’t be restricted to just China.”
The in-development C919 is starting to come together, with plans for final assembly of the first flight test aircraft scheduled to start by the end of this year. The aircraft is due to make its first flight in late 2015, with deliveries scheduled to start in 2017.
Comac has indicated that it plans to have the aircraft certificated first by the Civil Aviation Administration of China, after which it will pursue US Federal Aviation Adminsitration certification. The latter is seen as essential for the C919 to reach the export market.
Comac has received orders and commitments for 400 C919s, including a commitment for 20 aircraft from GECAS. Nevertheless, the majority of orders have come from Chinese lessors and airlines.