China Eastern Airlines Takes Delivery of First C919 Aircraft

China’s Comac C919 aircraft obtained CAAC certification in October.

COMAC C919

COMAC’s first production C919. [Courtesy: COMAC]

The first Commercial Aircraft Corps of China’s (Comac) C919 landed at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (SHA) Friday, paving the way for the aircraft to enter into China Eastern Airlines passenger service.

The debut of the twin-engine narrowbody, which obtained its certification from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) in late September, sets the stage for a new rivalry with Boeing (NYSE: BA) and Airbus.

"The world's first #C919, registration number B-919A, is delivered to its world’s first launch customer #CEAir," the airline tweeted, along with photos of an event where red curtains were drawn to reveal the aircraft.

Upon landing in Shanghai, the airline welcomed the aircraft with a water salute.

The delivery comes little more than two months after the C919 obtained certification, greenlighting operations and airline deliveries of the aircraft that has been in development for more than a decade. With a capacity of 168 passengers, the aircraft aims to compete with the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320 families of aircraft.

Four Chinese airlines, along with 13 leasing organizations, have placed orders for the C919, Airways Magazine reported. Among them is launch customer China Eastern Airlines, which has agreed to purchase five C919s, COMAC said. 

The jet seats from 158 to 174 passengers and is designed for a range of up to 5,555 km (2,999 nm).

Kimberly is managing editor of FLYING Digital.

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