On 9th December, China Eastern Airlines took delivery of the first COMAC C919 narrow-body aircraft, with COMAC holding a delivery ceremony in Shanghai. This also marks COMAC’s first C919 delivery – the aircraft designed to challenge the Airbus-Boeing duopoly in the narrow-body sector.
The COMAC C919 with registration B-919A is the first of five aircraft on order by the airline to be delivered through 2023 and it will enter into service in the spring of 2023. China Eastern Airlines was heavily involved in the development of the aircraft. Even the first C919 flight crew members were trained and provided by the airline.
China Eastern’s aircraft acceptance team arrived at COMAC’s Delivery Center to take the delivery of the aircraft at the end of November. The aircraft was delivered in a special ceremony at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport and after arriving in Shanghai, the new aircraft received a traditional water cannon.
China Eastern’s C919 is powered by two CFM International LEAP-1C engines and features 164 seats in a two-class configuration, including eight seats in business class and 156 seats in economy class. Moreover, the middle seat in each row is 1.5 cm wider than its neighbouring ones in the economy class.
Furthermore, the aircraft feature 20 drop-down screens to play videos alongside a passenger-focused lighting system and many more.
While the C919 delivery is a major milestone, the aircraft faces tough competition from the Airbus-Boeing duopoly. The C919 narrow-body aircraft was announced in 2008 and began assembly in 2011. The first C919 aircraft eventually rolled out in 2015 and performed its maiden flight on the 5th of May, 2017, when it launched the flight test campaign.
Following the maiden flight, COMAC aimed to deliver the first aircraft in 2021 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Communist Party of China. However, due to certification requirements, it was later pushed back further. The narrow-body aircraft received its type certification from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) on 29th September earlier this year.
Assembled in China, the narrow-body jet is designed to carry 158 to 192 passengers, however, it relies heavily on Western components, including engines and avionics. COMAC C919’s suppliers include General Electric, Honeywell International and CFM International among others.
Feature Image via FATIII Aviation