COMAC C919 Operates First Commercial Flight

COMAC C919 Operates First Commercial Flight

DALLAS — Chinese manufacturer COMAC and China Eastern Airlines (MU) have cause to celebrate, following the first commercial flight of the COMAC C919. History was made when flight MU9191 flew from Shanghai Hongqiao (SHA) to Beijing Capital (PEK) on May 28.

The flight was deemed to be fulfilling a ceremonial role, given the iconic and out-of-sequence flight number. With that in mind, it was reported that the passenger manifest was made up of dignitaries from across the Chinese aviation industry.

A passenger displays a boarding pass aboard MU’s C919 from Shanghai to Beijing on May 28, 2023. Photo: COMAC

Following a successful flight to PEK which lasted just under two hours, the same aircraft operated flight MU9192 on the return sector back to SHA.

People take photos of a C919 large passenger aircraft, before it lands at Beijing Capital International Airport, in Beijing, capital of China, on May 28, 2023. Photo: COMAC

According to recent reports, as yet to be corroborated by Airways, MU intends to initially deploy the new type between SHA and Chengdu Tianfu (TFU). Whilst MU operates just one example of the new type, it has pledged a commitment to an initial order of 20 aircraft.

MU’s COMAC C919 is greeted with a water salute after touching down at Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, the capital of China, on May 28, 2023. Photo: COMAC

Road to Maden Flight

COMAC developed the COMAC C919 to compete with the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737. The C919 is a respectable first effort, but it lacks passenger capacity and range when compared to Western offerings.

The COMAC jet’s development was fraught with difficulties. Although the first prototype was built in 2015, the first production aircraft did not arrive until December 2022. So far, only one C919 has been delivered to MU.

According to CBS News, COMAC obtained 60% of the C919’s components through partnerships with American aerospace firms. The efforts to develop the aircraft using Western knowledge may have gone beyond collaborative agreements. But that’s for another story.

Featured image: COMAC

Aviation author and commercial pilot based in the UK, with close to twenty years in the industry.

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