China Eastern Airlines Corp. ordered 100 C919 single-aisle planes from Commercial Aircraft Corp of China Ltd., dealing a potential blow to Boeing Co., which hasn’t had a large order from Chinese carriers in years.
The order is worth $9.9 billion at list prices, but a significant discount has been applied, Shanghai-based China Eastern said in a statement Thursday.
Airlines typically get reductions from the listed prices when making bulk orders. The planes will be delivered from 2024 to 2031.
Commercial Aircraft Corp of China, or Comac, produces the C919, seen as a possible rival to best-selling jets from Airbus SE and Boeing.
Thursday’s deal elevates the Chinese-made aircraft in terms of competitiveness, given it only made its first commercial flight in May, also operated by China Eastern.
China Eastern already operates two C919s, part of a previous order for five of the planes.
Comac, which also makes the smaller regional ARJ21 jet, has received more than 1,000 orders in total for the C919, primarily from China.
The order was determined according to the needs of the company “in respect of fleet structure, development strategy and route network, as well as the supply capacity of Comac,” China Eastern said.
The carrier will finance the purchase with its own funds, bank loans and proceeds from bond issues and other financing, it said.
Five C919 aircraft will be delivered in 2024 and then 10 a year from 2025 to 2027, rising to 15 in the next three years and 20 in 2031, China Eastern said.
The airline operates 782 aircraft and last year ordered 100 Airbus short-haul jets in a deal it said was worth $12.8 billion, prior to discounts.
That was part of a wider $37 billion deal from Chinese airlines for almost 300 Airbus planes.
Meanwhile, Boeing’s orders have dried up in China, its most important export market, partly due to simmering tensions between Washington and Beijing.China also took longer than other places to lift a ban on the U.S. manufacturer’s 737 Max, which was grounded in the wake of crashes in 2018 and 2019.
While China declared the Max airworthy again in December 2021, it took more than a year for the country’s airlines to start using the model.
China Southern Airlines Co. operated the first passenger flight in about four years in January.
In its latest commercial market outlook, Boeing said China will account for a fifth of the world’s new aircraft deliveries over the next 20 years, amounting to 8,560 planes.
Of those, 6,470 will be narrowbodies, such as the Max, it said.