SHANGHAI/BEIJING, 29th May, 2023 (WAM) — C919, China’s self-developed large passenger aircraft, completed its inaugural commercial flight from Shanghai to Beijing on Sunday, creating a milestone in China’s aviation industry, which aims to compete with global players such as Boeing, reported Global Times, an English-language Chinese newspaper
Developed by the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), the C919 aircraft, China’s first self-developed large jet airliner, is an important proof of China’s strength in self-innovation in the high-end manufacturing industry, and its solid market performance will foster further confidence in future orders and among customers, Chinese experts said.
The C919’s inaugural flight departed at 10:32 am from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport and landed at Beijing Capital International Airport at 12:31 pm, where it was welcomed with a special water-salute ceremony.
The highly anticipated flight, codenamed MU9191, flying from Shanghai to Beijing, was flown by China Eastern Airlines and carried around 130 passengers.
“More than 20 years ago, I heard many people in the aviation field talking about their dream of making a big plane. I am so excited to be one of the first passengers to fly on the C919,” a passenger named Shi Ding told the Global Times on Sunday.
Shi said he arrived at the Shanghai airport at 7:40 in the morning, and around 500 people were attending the inaugural ceremony. “I have been closely watching the development of C919 for years. As an aviation fan, I am so proud that China now has such an advanced aircraft manufacturing industry.”
The business and economy class on the C919 use a new generation of domestically designed and produced cabin seats. Among them, eight business class seats use an all-aluminium alloy frame structure with a cradle design and a backrest that can reach 120 degrees. The distance between the front and rear seats exceeds 1 metre.
The C919 cabin has a width of 2.25 metres, and the middle seat in the economy class triple seat is 1.5cm wider than the two seats on the end, bringing passengers more comfort.
The C919 project was launched in 2007 and completed its first test flight in 2017. On 29th September, 2022, it obtained the Type Certificate from the Civil Aviation Administration of China, the country’s aviation sector regulator.
With between 158 and 168 seats and a flight range of 4,075 to 5,555 kilometres, the C919 is designed to have the same specifications as the popular Airbus 320 and Boeing 737.
According to China Eastern Airlines’ plan, the first C919 plane will initially be operated between Shanghai and Chengdu, capital city of Southwest China’s Sichuan Province, before flying more routes.