After years of research, development and tests, China’s first large homegrown passenger jet appears set to make its inaugural commercial flight on Sunday, May 28.
China Eastern Airlines is the launch customer for the new narrow-body C919.
According to the airline’s app, flight MU 9191 will depart Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport at 10:45 a.m. local time, arriving at Beijing Capital International Airport at 1:10 p.m.
In a message posted on its app, China Eastern Airlines said it will choose passengers via a lottery involving those who have applied to board the inaugural flight.
Built by COMAC (Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China) in China, the first C919 was delivered to China Eastern Airlines in December 2022 and in the following months has been put through a series of test flights.
The single-aisle, twin-engined aircraft has 164 seats in a two-class cabin configuration consisting of business and economy seats.
With a range of up to 5,555 kilometers (3,452 miles), the C919 will be taking on the world’s two major aircraft manufacturers, Airbus and Boeing. It will be a direct competitor to their A320 and B737 narrowbody jets, most commonly used for domestic and regional international flights.
According to the 2022 Shanghai Science and Technology Progress Report issued by the Shanghai government, 32 clients had placed a total of 1,035 orders for the plane as of the end of 2022.
Many of the plane’s major elements such as the nose, fuselage, outer wing, vertical stabilizer and horizontal stabilizer were designed by COMAC.
However, the company enlisted Western companies to assist with some components. This includes the plane’s LEAP-1C engines, which were developed by CFM International, a joint venture between General Electric and French high-tech industrial group Safran.