“Come fly with me, let's fly, let's fly away …” ~Frank Sinatra

At the February 2024 Singapore Airshow, COMAC (Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China) made a play to break into the global civil aviation market. The state-owned enterprise brought its C919 to the show, hoping its single-aisle, narrow-body airliner might take some market share from Boeing’s 737 Max and Airbus A320neo, the commercial workhorses used worldwide to ferry 150-190 passengers on short- and medium-haul flights (1-3 hours and 3-6 hours, respectively). COMAC also sells a smaller plane for short-haul regional flights, but the company is still in the design stages of developing a wide-body aircraft to carry passengers on long-haul and transoceanic flights.

Perhaps COMAC smelled an opportunity due to the rough times that have beset Boeing ($BA) of late. As we were preparing this issue of Signal from Noise, The New York Times, citing an internal Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) slide presentation, reported that the plane maker failed 33 out of the 89 safety audits instigated by a January 5, 2024 incident in which a door panel blew off of a 737 Max 9 jet (Alaska Airlines Flight 1282) in midair. (A key Boeing supplier, Spirit AeroSystems ($SPR), failed seven out of 13 similar audits, the newspa...

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