The C919, the Chinese rival to Boeing, makes it first commercial flight

It flew from Shanghai to Beijing.
Loukia Papadopoulos
The C919.jpg
The C919.


The C919, China’s first large homegrown passenger jet engineered to compete with the likes of Boeing and Airbus, completed its first inaugural commercial flight on Sunday, flying from Shanghai to Beijing, CNN reported quoting Chinese state news agency Xinhua.

The plane flew as China Eastern Airlines flight MU9191, leaving Shanghai at 10:32 a.m. local time. It landed at the Beijing Capital International Airport at 12:31 p.m preparing for a return flight that caused much excitement.

A 14-year-old student in Beijing told CCTV he was “thrilled” to be on the second flight.

“This is the first large aircraft made by China and I know it’s meaningful, because my family is also involved in the aviation industry,” he said. “I had to be here to witness everything, so I signed up for today’s flight in February and got the opportunity to take the return flight.”

Officials also expressed their joy at the event and its promise for future operations.

“The first commercial flight is a coming-of-age ceremony of the new aircraft, and C919 will get better and better if it stands the test of the market,” said Zhang Xiaoguang, director of the marketing and sales department of COMAC, in a Xinhua report.

The launch of the C919 came after years of research and developments and is a crucial part of Beijing’s “Made in China 2025” strategy.

Equipped with a range of up to 5,555 kilometers (3,452 miles), the C919 is a direct competitor to the A320 and B737, narrowbody jets by Boeing and Airbus.

The aircraft boasts 164 seats in a two-class cabin configuration consisting of business and economy seats. It is also a single-aisle, twin-engined plane.

Orders already in place

The 2022 Shanghai Science and Technology Progress Report issued by the Shanghai government noted that 32 clients had placed a total of 1,035 orders for the plane as of the end of 2022.

The plane was built by COMAC (Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China) in China who designed many of the plane’s major elements such as the nose, fuselage, outer wing, vertical stabilizer and horizontal stabilizer.

The first C919 was delivered to China Eastern Airlines in December 2022 and proceeded to undergo a series of test flights.

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