China Eastern Airlines Welcomes Third COMAC C919 Airliner

Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) has recently delivered the third narrow-body airliner to China Eastern Airlines. The aircraft, which has a registration number of B-919D, was ferried from Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) to Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (SHA) on December 9, 2023. With a two-class cabin layout, the three-month-old aircraft can accommodate up to 164 passengers and is set to launch passenger services soon, as per China Daily's report. 


China Eastern Airlines ordered an initial batch of five aircraft, and the third one is the B919D. The first two deliveries of B-919A and B-919C have already been received by the airline. The inaugural aircraft was introduced to China Eastern Airlines' fleet in December 2022, while the second one started operating scheduled passenger flights between Shanghai and Chengdu in August 2023. 


China Eastern Airlines made headlines in September 2023 with a nearly $10 billion deal with COMAC. The groundbreaking deal is considered the largest single order for a narrow-body jet so far, with the Chinese carrier ordering 100 C919 aircraft from the manufacturer. As per the agreement, the airline anticipates receiving up to 10 aircraft per year between 2025 and 2027, increasing to 15 aircraft annually from 2028 to 2030, and reaching its peak with 20 C919 in 2031. 

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The C919 program was officially launched in 2009, and the first aircraft rolled off the assembly line in 2015. As a competitor to narrow-body single-aisle planes such as the Boeing 737 MAX and Airbus A320neo, the C919 was granted its type certificate from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) on September 29, 2022. COMAC claims that the C919 is the first jetliner that was entirely developed by a Chinese entity "in accordance with internationally accepted airworthiness standards" and "with independent intellectual property rights." The manufacturer further claims that the aircraft has a seating capacity of 158 to 168 passengers and can cover a range between 4,075 to 5,555 kilometers.

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