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Airlines' Awaited C919 Makes Test Flight

May 30,2022

The first C919 large passenger jet intended to enter service with China Eastern Airlines completed its debut test flight in Shanghai on Saturday, bringing the official delivery date of the aircraft model for commercial flights one step closer, air industry experts said.

At 6:52 am, the domestically made jet, number B-001J, took off from Shanghai Pudong International Airport and returned there in good condition at 9:54 am after performing multiple tasks well, according to its manufacturer, Commercial Aircraft Corp of China.

During the three-hour, two-minute flight, pilots and engineers worked together to complete all designed operations, according to Xinhua News Agency.

"The latest test flight showed that the nation's first domestically made, narrow-body passenger plane C919 is closer to beginning operation in commercial flights," said Zheng Hongfeng, founder and CEO of aviation data and solution service provider VariFlight.

Before it enters service, the aircraft must make more test flights and acquire the necessary airworthiness certificates, and preparations must be made for its delivery, COMAC said.

The C919, China's first self-developed trunk jetliner, has 158 to 174 seats and a range of 4,075 to 5,555 kilometers.

The twin-engine, single-aisle aircraft, which is comparable with the updated Airbus 320 and Boeing's new generation 737 planes, made its maiden flight on May 5, 2017. To date, COMAC has received 815 orders for it from 28 Chinese and foreign companies, according to the company's website.

When the C919 begins commercial service, Chinese civil aviation will have a new option, Zheng said.

With its flight testing, for instance, 1,694 out of the 3,273 planned test points had been completed as of December, and a large number of further tests are to be completed, Yang Zhenmei, of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, told ThePaper.cn.

Once it gets the necessary airworthiness certificates, the first C919 is expected to be delivered to its buyer within the year, Wu Yongliang, vice-general manager of COMAC, said earlier this year.

The research and manufacturing of the aircraft was a complicated project, Yang said.

On Tuesday, China Eastern Airlines announced that it plans to raise 15 billion yuan ($2.2 billion) through a nonpublic issuance of shares to buy 38 new aircraft, including four C919 passenger jets and 24 domestically made regional passenger jet ARJ21-700 aircraft, as well as to improve liquidity amid the current COVID-19 outbreak.

According to the announcement, a C919 aircraft costs $99 million.

Under this background, the 12th Annual Civil Aircraft Industry International Forum 2022 will be held on  July 21st-22nd, in Nanchang city, Jiangxi Province, China. You are welcome to participate.

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