COMAC Expands International Strategy, Targets Saudi Market

Technology Author: EqualOcean News May 29, 2024 05:48 PM (GMT+8)

With the deepening relationship between China and Saudi Arabia, Chinese aircraft manufacturer COMAC is setting its sights on Saudi Arabia as a significant step in its internationalization strategy. COMAC is actively promoting the C919 aircraft in the Saudi market and plans to establish a production line in Jeddah, further expanding its overseas market and challenging the dominance of Western manufacturers.

Amid the increasingly close economic relations between the two countries, COMAC Chairman He Dongfeng made his first visit to Saudi Arabia this week. This marks a further upgrade in cooperation between the two sides. In February, He Dongfeng had already hosted a Saudi delegation's visit to the company's Shanghai plant. At an aviation conference in Riyadh, He Dongfeng stated, "COMAC aims to enhance global connectivity and diversity by supporting the development of Saudi Arabia's air transportation." His remarks reflect COMAC's commitment to the Saudi market and its determination to advance its international development.

Despite facing challenges in the international market, particularly the lack of certification from the US and the EU, and the need to continuously improve aircraft operational efficiency, aviation industry experts point out that COMAC's internationalization journey remains long and challenging. Currently, COMAC's aircraft primarily serve the Chinese market, and although it has established a partnership with an Indonesian airline, its international market recognition still needs improvement.

Notably, Saudi Arabian Airlines has extended an invitation to COMAC to establish an assembly line in Jeddah. This move not only confirms Saudi Arabia's recognition of COMAC's technology but also lays a solid foundation for its development in the Saudi market. Saudi Arabian Airlines is in deep discussions with COMAC to fully understand the C919 aircraft, and the intention for cooperation between the two sides is clear.

Saudi Arabia is committed to achieving its "Vision 2030" by investing heavily to diversify its economy, reduce its reliance on fossil fuels, and vigorously develop the private sector. The expansion of the aviation industry is a crucial part of this vision. Saudi Arabia plans to add new airlines, purchase more aircraft, and build a large international airport to enhance its competitiveness in the Gulf region.

He Dongfeng stated that COMAC's C919 and ARJ21 regional jets are fully capable of meeting the growing demand for domestic and regional flights in Saudi Arabia. He also revealed, "COMAC plans to strengthen connectivity within a 2000-kilometer radius, covering the Arabian Peninsula, the Middle East, Turkey, and North Africa." Additionally, COMAC plans to launch a long-haul wide-body aircraft, the C929, to support Saudi Arabia's international hub construction plans.

With the visit of the Saudi Finance Minister to China this week and an upcoming visit by a delegation including the Saudi Investment Minister, cooperation between China and Saudi Arabia in the aviation sector is expected to reach new heights. COMAC is seizing this opportunity to actively promote the C919 aircraft in the Saudi market and plans to establish a production line in Saudi Arabia, making it an important step in its internationalization strategy.

This cooperation will not only enhance Saudi Arabia's air transport capabilities but also open up broader market opportunities for COMAC, challenging Boeing and Airbus's dominance in the international market.