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C919 achieves milestone: China’s largest aircraft order secured


A C919 large passenger aircraft takes off from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport in east China's Shanghai. /CMG

A C919 large passenger aircraft takes off from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport in east China’s Shanghai. /CMG

A C919 large passenger aircraft takes off from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport in east China’s Shanghai. /CMG

China Eastern Airlines signed a purchase agreement on Thursday with the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd. (COMAC) for an additional 100 C919 planes, marking the largest single order for the China-developed large passenger aircraft.

According to the plan, the new C919 aircraft purchased by the airline will be delivered in batches from 2024 to 2031.

Zhang Yuan, the general manager of the planning department at China Eastern Airlines, mentioned that this purchase comes at a time when the civil aviation market holds significant potential, and the airline is in need of fleet renewal. The C919 has also demonstrated promising initial commercial performance.

In 2021, China Eastern Airlines initially ordered five C919 large passenger aircraft. The company has already taken delivery of two jets and deployed them on the air route between Shanghai and Chengdu in southwest China’s Sichuan Province.

As of September 26, these two planes have accumulated more than 1,140 flight hours, with over 867 hours in commercial operations. They have completed 296 commercial flight trips, transporting over 35,000 passengers.

The airline anticipates taking delivery of its third C919 aircraft in October this year and plans to open new routes by June 2024, allowing more passengers to experience the C919.

Two C919 aircraft of China Eastern Airlines are seen in Shanghai, China, July 17, 2023. /CFP

Two C919 aircraft of China Eastern Airlines are seen in Shanghai, China, July 17, 2023. /CFP

Two C919 aircraft of China Eastern Airlines are seen in Shanghai, China, July 17, 2023. /CFP

Since its launch in 2007, the C919 project has undergone a lengthy journey encompassing design, manufacturing, flight tests and eventual commercialization. 

Developed by COMAC, the first C919 aircraft rolled off the Shanghai production line in November 2015 and completed a successful maiden flight in 2017.

The aircraft marked its official entry into the civil aviation market with its first commercial flight in May.

Recently, two C919 airplanes completed a month-long round of demonstration flights in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, establishing a foundation for the subsequent operation of domestic commercial aircraft in the region, according to COMAC.

China boasts a massive civil aviation market with significant potential. According to a market forecast released by COMAC in late 2022, over the 2022-2041 period, China’s civil aviation market is projected to receive 9,284 new planes, including 6,288 single-aisle jetliners. 

The forecast anticipates that by 2041, China will become the world’s largest single-country civil aviation market.

(With input from Xinhua)



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