Tibet Airlines orders 50 Chinese-made aircraft from COMAC


China’s Tibet Airlines significantly expanded its fleet on February 20th with a major order from Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) during the opening day of the Singapore Airshow.

The airline finalized a deal for 40 COMAC C919 narrow-body jets and 10 ARJ21 regional jets explicitly designed for high-altitude operations.

As part of the agreement, Tibet Airlines has become the launch customer for a new, shortened variant of the C919 tailored for high-altitude airports. This derivative model will seat between 140 and 160 passengers.

Along with Tibet Airlines, Henan Aviation Investment Corporation also inked an agreement with COMAC for six specialized ARJ21 aircraft, including firefighting, medical, and emergency rescue command variants.

C919 makes international debut

The Singapore Airshow marks the first time COMAC has participated in an international airshow with flight demonstrations.

The event is also the maiden voyage of the C919 aircraft outside of China. This presence highlights COMAC’s growing ambition to position the C919 as a competitor to the popular Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX single-aisle jet families.

While the C919 is currently only certified for operation within China, COMAC has garnered over 1,000 orders for the aircraft, primarily from Chinese airlines and lessors.

Strategic cooperation for high-altitude operations

The order from Tibet Airlines builds upon a strategic cooperation agreement signed between the airline and the Chinese aircraft manufacturer in December 2023. 

The two entities are collaborating on the research and development of a new C919 variant optimized to operate at high-altitude environments, perfect for Tibet Airlines’ flights over the Tibetan-Himalayan plateau.

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