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Boeing touts 737 Max as ‘safest airplane,’ comments on China’s Comac C919

Miniature models of Boeing business airplanes displayed on the Singapore Airshow in Singapore on February 20, 2024. 

Roslan Rahman | Afp | Getty Images

SINGAPORE — Boeing touted its 737 Max aircraft as “the safest airplane” and said China’s latest domestic jetliner Comac C919 is comparable to offerings by Airbus and Boeing which can be already available in the market.

Dave Schulte, Boeing’s business marketing managing director for Asia-Pacific acknowledged that the 737 Max 9 — which currently faces questions over a midair blowout — “is by far essentially the most scrutinized airplane on the earth, within the history of aviation.”

However, he insisted it was “the safest airplane that might be on the market today.”

Speaking to media on the sidelines of the Singapore Airshow, Schulte said he flew on the 737 Max aircraft along with his family the last week, and identified that the plane was “quite full.”

A midflight blowout of a fuselage panel on considered one of Boeing’s 737 Max 9 operated by Alaska Airlines earlier this yr raised concerns about safety after loose bolts were found during preliminary inspections. In January, Boeing recorded a decline in aircraft orders and deliveries.

On Wednesday, Boeing announced it’s going to be replacing the pinnacle of its 737 Max program.

Boeing didn’t bring any business planes to the Singapore Airshow. Instead, it’s showcasing its defense capabilities, featuring a lot of its fighter jets, including the B-52 Stratofortress which can take part in the U.S. Air Force aerial display.

The company also had a cabin display of its wide-body 777X passenger plane on the event, which it claims is the world’s largest twin-engine jet. But deliveries for the aircraft, expected from 2025, have been plagued with delays.

China competition not imminent

Without Boeing’s business jets on the Singapore Airshow, all eyes were on passenger planes by Airbus and China’s domestic jetliner Comac C919.

The Comac C919, which industry experts said could shake things up for the long-standing business aviation industry duopoly by Boeing and Airbus, remains to be within the early stages of entering the race.

“It’s still early days to know if Comac can shake up the duopoly. We usually are not more likely to see a C919 overseas order of significance within the near term,” Brendan Sobie of Sobie Aviation told CNBC.

Comac on Tuesday signed a take care of China’s Tibet Airlines and finalized an order for 40 C919 and 10 ARJ21 jets.

That same day, Henan Civil Aviation Development and Investment Group, a Chinese state-backed organization, also signed a deal for six models of the Comac ARJ21.

The ARJ21 jet is a brief to medium range turbofan plane which might fly shorter distances and is used for regional flights.

China's Comac announces orders for its C919, ARJ21 planes

The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac) developed the narrow-body C919 to compete with Boeing’s 737 and the Airbus 320.

“It’s an identical sized airplane that each Boeing and Airbus produce,” Boeing’s Schulte said, adding that airlines in Southeast Asia may consider it. However, he warned that Comac can even must overcome supply disruptions just like those faced by each Boeing and Airbus.

“But of course, it’s an airplane that’s included in our long run forecast,” Schulte said, referring to the C919.

As the aviation and airline industry moves on from the pandemic, a ramp-up in production by each Boeing and Airbus have pressured suppliers which can be struggling to fulfill the growing demand for parts.

Miniature models of Boeing business airplanes are displayed on the Singapore Airshow in Singapore on February 20, 2024. 

Roslan Rahman | Afp | Getty Images

Christian Scherer, chief executive officer of Airbus’s aircraft business business said earlier this week that Comac’s C919 is “not going to rock the boat particularly.”

He said the C919 “looks a bit like an Airbus narrow body,” while also noting the plane is “not very different” from what Airbus and Boeing have already got.

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