When the COMAC C919 launched, comparisons were immediately made with the failed Bombardier effort to break the Boeing/Airbus duopoly. Bombardier failed for several reasons, chiefly because it was unable to gain the required customer base needed to gain traction in the airline industry. This does not apply to COMAC: the company has a ready-made market of state controlled airlines, colossal state backing and provides fantastic opportunities for foreign companies. These factors will aid the company to make serious inroads into the Chinese domestic airline market, providing the impetus for future expansion.
At present the C919 is not a sophisticated aircraft, yet the speed of development from a lowly base will surely narrow the quality gap to Airbus and Boeing. Given the size of the investment and the number of aircraft due to be delivered to Chinese airlines, the major technological advancements needed to eventually challenge the big players can be achieved. Such is the seriousness of the effort, a new state-backed company has been setup; it will create new jet engines, and they have billions of dollars to play with. Furthermore, foreign companies who wish to gain contracts must aid the development of Chinese aerospace.
The demand for aircraft in China in the coming 20 years is massive, and being a state-backed manufacturer with ambitious development plans is the ideal situation to be in. Help is coming in the form of substantial foreign investment in aircraft finishing facilities and hefty rises in the value of components purchased by Boeing and Airbus from Chinese companies. Everything points towards major advances occurring which will allow COMAC to corner the Chinese market and then make international inroads on the big players.