Airbus commercial aircraft chief executive Christian Scherer is keeping a watchful eye on the Comac C919 as airline operations with the Chinese narrowbody gather pace.

While Scherer says he does not see the new twinjet taking significant market share from Airbus and Boeing in the short-term he says the airframer “must not stick its head in the sand” as the Chinese manufacturer ramps up its marketing efforts for the single-aisle.


Source: BillyPix

C919 is making its international air show debut at Singapore

“Far be it from us to have an attitude that dismisses Comac – that would be a mistake,” he said during a media briefing at the Singapore air show on 20 February.

But Scherer notes that the C919 – which is making its international air show debut at Singapore – is an aircraft that “looks very much like one that Airbus or Boeing are offering to the market today”.

CFM International Leap-1C engines power the C919, while the Leap-1A is an option on the Airbus A320neo and the -1B the exclusive powerplant on the Boeing 737 Max.

Scherer argues that the Chinese jet is not “bringing any product differentiation” to the market and “that is why we are not anticipating that the C919 is going to rock the boat in a significant way from a strategic perspective.”

However, he thinks there is room for all three narrowbodies the given the rapid expansion of the market in the Asia-Pacific: “The cake is growing sufficiently for Comac to want to compete,” he says.

The C919 was certified by Chinese regulators in 2022, and entered commercial service with launch customer China Eastern Airlines in May 2023.