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China’s domestically-produced passenger aircraft, the C919, is making waves in the aviation industry. Built by the state-owned Commercial Aviation Corporation of China (COMAC), the C919 has garnered significant interest, with around 1,200 orders – primarily from domestic airlines. However, its global ambitions might face a hurdle in the form of the world’s fastest-growing aviation market: India.

According to leaked internal company documents, COMAC plans to actively promote the C919 in various Asian markets. This strategic move aims to capitalize on the region’s burgeoning aviation sector. The C919, a narrow-body jet designed to compete with the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX families, offers airlines an alternative within the single-aisle aircraft category.

Despite its Asian ambitions, COMAC seems to be excluding India from its promotional plans. This decision likely stems from the ongoing border dispute between the two nations. The Indian regulatory body, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), is responsible for issuing type certificates, essentially approving the airworthiness of aircraft operating in India. With strained political relations, COMAC might be apprehensive about navigating the Indian regulatory process.

The C919’s absence from the Indian market presents a missed opportunity for both sides. India’s booming aviation sector represents a lucrative market for aircraft manufacturers. Conversely, the C919 could benefit from the vast potential of Indian airlines. Whether the political climate allows for a future entry of the C919 into India remains to be seen.

The C919’s initial focus on Asian markets is a strategic move for COMAC. However, the long-term success of the aircraft will depend on its ability to secure a foothold in major aviation hubs like India. As the political situation evolves, the possibility of the C919 gracing Indian skies cannot be entirely ruled out.

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