Key Points:

  • Mainland China's self-developed civilian passenger aircraft, the ARJ21 and C919, will be showcased in Hong Kong next week, as announced by the Chief Executive.

  • The ARJ21 and C919 jets, products of the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), will be on static display at Hong Kong International Airport, with the C919 performing a demonstration flight over Victoria Harbour.

  • This visit follows a recent space program delegation in Hong Kong and marks a significant step in China's aerospace manufacturing and Hong Kong's role as an international aviation hub.

Historic Visit of Mainland China’s Civilian Passenger Aircraft

HONG KONG — Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu has disclosed that two of Mainland China's domestically produced civilian passenger aircraft, the ARJ21 and the C919, will be visiting Hong Kong for the first time. Scheduled for the week of December 12 to 17, these aircraft will be exhibited at Hong Kong International Airport. The C919, in particular, is expected to conduct a flight demonstration over Victoria Harbour. This announcement comes shortly after Hong Kong hosted a delegation from the mainland's space program, which included astronauts.

Lee emphasized the significance of the development of these aircraft types for China's aerospace manufacturing industry. He expressed gratitude to the country's civil aviation administration and COMAC for their support in bringing these aircraft to Hong Kong. The visit of the ARJ21 and C919 is seen as an affirmation of Hong Kong's status as an international aviation hub and a testament to China's advancements in aerospace technology.

The Evolution of China’s Aerospace Manufacturing

The ARJ21, developed by COMAC, holds the distinction of being the first turbofan regional aircraft entirely designed and manufactured in China. Since its commercial operation debut in 2016, the ARJ21 has made strides in the international market, with its first delivery to an Indonesian airline, TransNusa, in 2022. Meanwhile, the C919 represents China's first foray into developing a narrowbody passenger jet, aimed at rivaling established models like Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320 family. The C919 commenced service in 2023 with China Eastern Airlines, embarking on its inaugural commercial flight in May.

Chief Executive Lee highlighted the C919's visit to Hong Kong as its first venture outside the mainland. This move is seen as indicative of China's focus on advancing Hong Kong's aerospace industry. Victor Liu, director general of Hong Kong's Civil Aviation Department, added that the department had been involved in the preliminary research and development of the C919 since 2012. This collaboration included active participation in evaluation activities and involvement in the C919 T5 test for flight crew training.

Celebratory Welcome and Aerial Displays

Upon their arrival at Hong Kong International Airport on December 12, the ARJ21 and C919 aircraft will be honored with a water salute, a traditional aviation gesture. Following this ceremonial welcome, the aircraft will be positioned for a static display from December 13 to 15, allowing for public viewing.

The C919's itinerary includes a planned flyover across Victoria Harbour on December 16, contingent on weather conditions. Additionally, the aircraft will conduct two flights over Hong Kong Island, providing an opportunity for the public to witness this aviation marvel. This visit by the aircraft coincides with a recent four-day visit by Chinese astronauts and members of the China Manned Space Agency, further underscoring the growing prominence of Hong Kong in the realm of aerospace and aviation.