China's indigenously developed C919 passenger aircraft to make maiden flight on Sunday

C919 will be a direct competitor to narrowbody jets developed by Airbus and Boeing

China C919 aircraft (File) Chinese passenger jet C919 performs at the China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, China | Reuters

China's indigenously developed passenger aircraft C919 will make its first commercial flight on Sunday. The maiden journey will be operated by China Eastern Airlines between Shanghai and Beijing, a report said.

The C919, developed by China's state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China will compete with narrow-body passenger jets manufactured by Airbus and Boeing, aiming to end the duopoly enjoyed by the manufacturers in aircraft manufacturing. According to reports, the single-aisle aircraft would have the capacity to carry 158 to 192 passengers and has a range of upto 5,555 kilometres. The South China Morning Post reported that the aircraft has been designed to compete with Boeing’s 737 and Airbus’ A320. 

According to reports, the maiden flight is being operated on one of the busiest domestic routes in China. The airliner would depart from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport at 10.45am (local time) and is expected to arrive at Beijing Capital Airport by 1.10pm (local time). SCMP reported that the airliner will return to Shanghai as flight number MU9192 in the afternoon.

Developed by COMAC, the C919 was granted a type certificate by the Civil Aviation Administration of China last September. China Eastern Airlines conducted a 100-hour verification flight for its first C919 aircraft on December 26, 2022, to verify and confirm the aircraft's operational safety.

According to COMAC, it has to date received orders for over 1,200 C919 jetliners. According to estimates, China had 6,795 civil aircraft in 2020, mostly that of Boeing and Airbus.

According to reports, China developed the indigenous aircraft to reduce its dependence on Western technology as its ties with the West have been deteriorating. However, though developed by China, C919 relies heavily on Western components, Reuters reported. While COMAC designed the nose, fuselage, outer wing, vertical stabilizer and horizontal stabilizer of C919, it had to depend on foreign manufacturers for the engine, avionics, control systems, communications and landing gear. 

📣 The Week is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@TheWeekmagazine) and stay updated with the latest headlines