UPDATED STORY | China test flies first home-grown C919 jet to be delivered, Xinhua reports


China’s COMAC C919 aircraft, that is bound to be delivered to China Eastern Airlines, has carried out its first test flight. 

On May 14, 2022, the C919, registered as B-001J, took off from Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) and landed after three hours of flight. During the test flight, pilots and engineers conducted all required tests and said that the aircraft was in good condition, according to COMAC. 

COMAC also added that the preparations for the first C919 delivery are “progressing in an orderly manner”. However, the exact delivery date was not specified. 

The first C919 will be delivered to launch customer China Eastern Airlines. In March 2021, the Shanghai-based carrier signed a purchase contract with COMAC to acquire five C919 jets. 

In an interview with state-controlled media outlet The Paper in January 2022, COMAC’s deputy general manager Wu Yongliang revealed that China’s COMAC C919 aircraft deliveries are expected to start in 2022. Previously, COMAC had aimed for C919 local certification in 2021.  

The C919 aircraft is a narrowbody developed by Chinese aircraft manufacturer COMAC. The first C919 was rolled out in 2015. The C919 was initially supposed to enter commercial service in 2016, but it was delayed multiple times due to technical difficulties and supply issues. 

The narrowbody, destined to compete against the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX, made its first test flight in 2017. A total of six C919s have conducted test flights since 2019. After 14 years of development, COMAC aims for local certification of the aircraft in 2022.  

The C919 has a range of 4,075 to 5,555 kilometers, and a capability to accommodate up to 168 passengers. Currently, a total of 815 C919 provisional orders have been obtained from 28 customers, COMAC data shows. 

($1 = 6.4589 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Source: Reuters

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