China's indigenously developed C919 passenger aircraft successfully completes maiden journey

Airliner completes first commercial flight with 130 passengers onboard

China C919 C919 plane is welcomed with water jets after completing its maiden commercial flight operated by China Eastern Airlines at the Beijing Capital International Airport | AP

China's indigenously developed C919 passenger jet successfully completed its first commercial flight on Sunday. Operated China Eastern Airlines, 130 passengers were onboard for the maiden journey.

The South China Morning Post reported that the flight departed from Shanghai’s Hongqiao Airport at 10.30am and arrived at Beijing Capital Airport at 12.30pm. The airliner received a water salute when it landed at Beijing airport, the publication reported.

Developed by China's Commercial Aviation Corporation of China, the 38.9-metre long and 11.95-metre high narrow-body jet features eight business and 156 economy class seats, SCMP reported. China announced plans to develop aircraft domestically in 2007 to reduce dependency on Western technology and to end the duopoly of Airbus and Boeing. 

SCMP quoted China Eastern general manager Li Yangminas saying, “The safety, reliability and abilities needed to ensure [the plane’s] performance have all been fully proved.” 

The C919 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 aircraft 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.  

Although developed by China, C919 relies heavily on Western components. 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. According to COMAC, it has received orders for over 1,200 C919 jetliners.  


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