Monday Update – December 12, 2022

Media Discussions of The Chinese C919 Airliner:
Like Trying To Predict Last Week’s Football Game.

With the recent “revelations” of Boeing getting cut out of China – something we covered over a year ago – the new hot topic is discussing the future of China’s indigenous C919 airliner.

Never has such an obvious outcome been so thoroughly and uselessly discussed.

Anyone with a pulse, and just a sliver-understanding of airline economics, can see from the start that this contraption was market DOA when it rolled out of the factory several years ago. Years ago, right.

“Hey, this new airliner is fixin’ to challenge the Airbus/Boeing global duopoly,” is a theme heard in some media circles. Which means using a Ouija board to pick investments is far more reliable than the stuff coming from some of the glazed doughnuts holding forth on financial networks.

It’s Not A Chinese Airliner. It’s A CCP Political Project. All this C919 contraption represents is an embarrassment to China. A national embarrassment. The CCP-run COMAC is the Keystone Kops of airliner manufacturing. A powerful, innovative country like China could do a whole lot better, in the absence of the people currently running the place.

Most of the panel discussions we’re seeing on the networks dance around the issue.

There are a couple of obvious points that indicate the CNBC, FOX Business and others could spend their time on more productively.

First, this is not a new airliner. This iron sled was first rolled out of the factory seven years ago. This past week, it’s been reported that the first C919 has finally been delivered (foisted on?) China Eastern Airlines, which plans to monkey around with it for a few more months before trying to put it into passenger service.

Second, there is no reason for a major global airline to buy the thing. It represents zero operational advantages over existing products from Boeing, Airbus and Embraer. Any high school kid who hangs out on aviation geek websites would tell you that an airline will buy an entirely new platform only if it represents superior economics.

For example, the Bombardier CSeries, now the Airbus A220, certainly did just that, and it is rattling cages at not only Boeing but probably at current-producer Airbus, which is facing the market opportunity of stretching the -220 into something that needs to be carefully handled, lest it becomes a competitor to existing other lines. A nice conundrum to be in, while Boeing is stuck with the 737 platform and no planned successor.

But the COMAC C919 isn’t superior to anything in the sky. It is strictly me-too, at best. They may be able to toss a few units at Third World airlines, sort of like the experience with the Sukhoi SuperJet. With similar results.

Third, the expense of bringing on a new airliner type – especially one from the CCP-managed COMAC cabal – is astronomical, unless it offers whole new mission economics – which the C919 does not.

Fourth, the is the emerging reputation and monstrous ethics of the owner of COMAC, the unelected Chinese Communist Party, which brought us concentration camps and ethnic cleansing in Xinjiang, forced organ harvesting and the global pandemic. Among other societal programs. Hard to explain, maybe, at shareholder meetings. Even at Ryan Air.

Fifth, even if the C919 were an operational barn-burner, most airlines wouldn’t want to wait. COMAC is reported to announce that they’ll be delivering 25 C919s a year by 2030. That’s about what Airbus does in two weeks.

Hanging New Electronics On A Dog Airliner Is Meaningless. Finally, the last refuge of apologists for this embarrassment to the Chinese people is the US and western embargo of sensitive systems, for fear (certainty) of COMAC pirating them.

That’s nonsense in that the entire C919 platform is not competitive, anyway.

China Could Do A Lot Better. If a Chinese company were free to pursue such major projects on a market basis, instead of having chump CCP toadies making the calls, there really would be a competitor coming out of China. So, the component embargo is a non sequitur, so don’t fall for it.

The terminal flaw in the COMAC C919 is that it is an airliner developed for a political purpose, not a market need, regardless of where the components come from.

A Unique Branding Opportunity? Blend all this together into creating an appropriate market image for the C919, expressing the true culture of the CCP, and a Madison Avenue firm could have a field day.

Let’s name it. The C919 Thugliner, maybe. Instead of economy cabin, label it the concentration cabin, maybe. Instead of curtain dividers between cabin classes, use barbed wire. Lots of appropriate options to showcase the true style of the government-based builders of this thing.

Log On for Some Insight That Goes to The Core of The Matter. Over a year ago – when most folks thought “C919” was a late-night TV product to cure acne, we published an Aviation Unscripted video covering the how this machine was a complete market bow-wow.

Click here to invest a couple of minutes that will cut through the yogurt coming out of some current media stories.

And while you’re there, hit the Aviation Unscripted subscribe button, to get notifications when a new video is issued covering matters that other consultants don’t want to touch.

And if you’ve any thoughts on this, shoot us an email on the contact tab.