ZHUHAI, China --- Fifty orders for C919 aircraft have been signed at the ongoing China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition, indicating that China's first domestic large passenger aircraft is expanding its market reach amid tough overseas competition.
The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd. (COMAC), the aircraft's manufacturer, inked deals on Tuesday with a GE subsidiary and two Chinese companies at the aviation show, according to COMAC general manager He Dongfeng.
The exhibition is scheduled to run from November 13 to 18 in the city of Zhuhai in South China's Guangdong province
He said GE Capital Aviation Service (GECAS) will purchase 10 of the planes, while two local airline operators, Hebei Airlines and Joy Air, will buy 20 units each.
The company has thus far secured orders for 380 C919 aircraft from 15 customers, He said.
COMAC also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Eastern Air Lines for future sales of the aircraft to the US airline, according to He.
"The signing of the new orders and MOU indicates that the C919 has once again won recognition in both domestic and overseas markets," He said.
Wu Guanghui, chief designer of the C919, said future global and domestic markets will have a strong appetite for civil aircraft like the C919.
The company said the aircraft will hit the market in 2016 after tests are completed in 2014.
Industry observers say the C919 will compete with the Boeing and Airbus in the medium-range aircraft sector.