Domestically developed first C919 jet delivered to China Eastern, to make maiden commercial flight next spring
Published: Dec 09, 2022 10:03 AM Updated: Dec 09, 2022 08:14 PM
Photo: CFP

Photo: CFP

The world's first C919 aircraft, also China's first domestically-developed passenger jet, was delivered to China Eastern Airlines in Shanghai on Friday, and it is expected to be put into commercial operation in the spring of 2023.

It is a major milestone in the development of China's large aircraft industry, and it means that the global civil aviation market will welcome a latest newly developed single-aisle aircraft over the past more than 30 years, the producer Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) said on Friday.

The delivery of the first C919 large passenger aircraft and the upcoming route operation will provide more choices for global airlines and customers, bring more opportunities for global suppliers and partners, and inject new vitality into the global commercial aircraft industry, COMAC added.

China Eastern Airlines told the Global Times that it will also carry out more than 100 hours of empty aircraft verification test flight to test the aircraft's operational safety, maintenance reliability and various operational support capabilities.

The C919 jet is expected to be put into commercial operation in the spring of 2023 after meeting the requirements of the Civil Aviation Administration of China. The jet will be put into the routes in the cities of Shanghai, Beijing, Xi'an, Kunming, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Shenzhen, the airlines said.

On Friday, China Eastern selected three senior captains, with combined total flight time of more than 50,000 hours, for a special flight from Shanghai Pudong International Airport to Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport.

A total of 80 guests boarded the plane, being the first to experience the safety, economy and comfort of the plane. The plane was welcomed by a watergate ceremony, and is now officially part of the China Eastern fleet.

The airlines also specially set up the C919 flight department and selected 24 pilots with rich experience as the first batch of pilots; the first batch of flight crew and maintenance engineers are also ready.

China Eastern has arranged two-cabin layout with 164 seats, including 8 business class and 156 economy class, all of which use a new generation of domestic cabin seats that are completely independently developed by China.

The aircraft adopts advanced aerodynamic design, propulsion system and materials, with lower carbon emissions and higher fuel efficiency. The cockpit is equipped with a new generation of integrated side operating levers, five 15.4-inch high-definition display screens. The cabin has an aisle height of 2.25 meters, and the middle seat is slightly wider than the seats on both sides, which will provide passengers with a more comfortable riding environment.

China Eastern Airlines and COMAC signed the purchase contract for the first batch of five C919 aircraft in March of 2021. The remaining four aircraft will be delivered in the coming two years.

The project of C919 large passenger aircraft was established in 2007 and the plane made its first flight in 2017. It obtained the type certificate of the Civil Aviation Administration of China on September 29, 2022, and gained the production certificate on November 29.

The other two giants Boeing and Airbus sent their congratulations to COMAC.

Congratulations to COMAC for delivering the first C919, bringing a new model to the global civil aviation market, Boeing China said on its official WeChat account on Friday morning.

"We look forward to working with COMAC and other industry peers to continue working on the long-term sustainable development of the aviation industry," said Airbus.

Global Times