Just after Addison mused about the C919 model in a Ryanair office in a post yesterday, new reports today indicate that Ryanair will announce cooperation with COMAC in developing the aircraft at the Paris Air Show. Maybe there is something there, after all! Could Ryanair be the launch western customer for a Chinese aircraft? This could be an interesting play, as Ryanair is a large Boeing customer that was recently rebuffed in an attempt to place a large order for new aircraft at a substantial discount — too substantial for Boeing to agree to. With the Chinese entering the market with what will almost certainly be a lower cost alternative, using the new CFM LEAP engines that power A320neo, western avionics, and major subsystems from western companies, the C919 could become a viable alternative if it gains credibility with airlines outside of China.
Ryanair has been rebuffed recently by Boeing and Airbus, and COMAC needs a major non-Chinese customer. This could be a major development and the beginning of a major shift in the commercial aviation landscape.