Photo: Shimin Gu

LONDON — Chinese conglomerate HNA Group has agreed to purchase 300 aircraft from Chinese manufacturer COMAC (Commercial Aircraft Corp of China Ltd).

The deal is for 200 C919s and 100 ARJ-21 planes.

READ MORE: COMAC’s C919 Completes Its Maiden Flight

The exact cost has not been released, but both HNA and Comac did say that they had signed strategic cooperation under which HNA would operate the planes in both China and overseas markets for an unspecified period.

HNA Strong in Asia, Africa

This has come as a strategic move for Comac, which is looking to expand into other world markets.

The manufacturer already has African carriers Capital Airlines (South Africa) and Africa World Airlines (Ghana), who are part of the HNA portfolio.

READ MORE: Comac C919’s Maiden Flight To Be On Friday
Photo: Ken Chen

These two airlines signed a deal for 15 C919 planes back in 2010.

The C919 is a direct competitor for the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737.

READ MORE: COMAC C919 Gets Ready for Its First Flight

The plane is roughly four years away from getting the approval of airworthiness from China’s’ Civil Aviation Administration.

Up to date, the C919 has a total of 815 orders, while the ARJ-21 has 453.

Most of the companies that operate these planes are Chinese carriers and lessors, but with the continuous growth of demand of aviation travel in China, the number of orders may begin to worry other manufacturers such as Airbus and Boeing.

READ MORE: COMAC Delivers First ARJ21 to Chengdu Airlines

The two leading manufacturers are looking to keep a substantial amount of the estimated $2 trillion dollars worth of the global jet market over the next two decades.

The move from HNA to order 300 aircraft COMAC planes is big. The company operates around 1,100 aircraft and holds a stake in over ten airlines, including the very successfully growing Hainan Airlines.