The C919 has become China’s first-ever large passenger aircraft developed to rival industry giants Boeing and Airbus by successfully completing its inaugural commercial flight from Shanghai to Beijing, according to Chinese state news agency Xinhua.
The aircraft, identified as China Eastern Airlines flight MU9191, departed Shanghai at 10:32 a.m. local time and touched down at Beijing Capital International Airport at 12:31 p.m., creating much excitement for its forthcoming return journey.
The officials present were filled with joy and excitement at the occasion and the potential this jet holds for future operations. A student in Beijing, aged 14 also shared his enthusiasm in an interview with CCTV, expressing his delight about being on the aircraft’s second flight.
“This is the first large aircraft made by China and I know it’s meaningful because my family is also involved in the aviation industry,” he said. “I had to be here to witness everything, so I signed up for today’s flight in February and got the opportunity to take the return flight.”
The launch of the C919 follows an extensive period of research and development and aligns with Beijing’s strategic initiative known as “Made in China 2025.”
“The first commercial flight is a coming-of-age ceremony of the new aircraft, and C919 will get better and better if it stands the test of the market,” said Zhang Xiaoguang, director of the marketing and sales department of COMAC, in a Xinhua report.
With a range of up to 5,555 kilometers (3,452 miles), the C919 stands as a direct competitor to Boeing’s B737 and Airbus’s A320, both of which are narrowbody jet models. Featuring a two-class cabin configuration consisting of business and economy seating, the aircraft can accommodate a total of 164 passengers. It is an amazing twin-engined, single-aisle plane.
The 2022 Shanghai Science and Technology Progress Report, released by the local government, highlighted that by the end of 2022, a total of 32 customers had placed 1,035 orders for the C919.
The manufacturing of the aircraft was carried out by COMAC (Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China) within the country. COMAC was responsible for designing key elements such as the nose, fuselage, outer wing, vertical stabilizer, and horizontal stabilizer.
In December 2022, the initial C919 was delivered to China Eastern Airlines and underwent a series of test flights subsequently.