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China's homegrown C919 jetliner flies on new regular route


A C919 jetliner is under test in east China's Shandong Province, January 7, 2024. /CFP
A C919 jetliner is under test in east China's Shandong Province, January 7, 2024. /CFP

A C919 jetliner is under test in east China's Shandong Province, January 7, 2024. /CFP

The C919, China's self-developed large passenger aircraft, commenced operation on a new route connecting the megacities of Beijing and Shanghai on Tuesday.

Flight MU5137, operated by China Eastern Airlines, departed from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport around 3:40 p.m. (Beijing Time). With a seat occupancy rate of over 85 percent, the flight reached Beijing Daxing International Airport nearly two hours later.

This marks the second regular route for the C919, following the previously launched Shanghai Hongqiao-Chengdu Tianfu route.

"I was on a business trip to Beijing and didn't specifically choose the flight or aircraft type. Unexpectedly, I found myself on the C919. It was a pleasant surprise," said a passenger surnamed Wang, who was onboard MU5137 on Tuesday.

"The operation of the C919 on the Beijing-Shanghai route holds special significance," said Tang Bing, director and vice party secretary of China Eastern Air Holding Company Limited.

"With the C919's regular operations on this route, it will further enhance its market adaptability and overall support capabilities," Tang said, adding that it will also provide opportunities for more passengers to experience the country's homegrown large passenger aircraft.

The C919 launched its first commercial flight in May 2023 and has operated regularly between Shanghai and Chengdu, the capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province.

As of December 31, 2023, the China Eastern Airlines' C919 fleet has accumulated more than 2,200 safe flight hours, completed 655 commercial flight trips, and transported nearly 82,000 passengers.

China Eastern Airlines signed a purchase contract in September 2023 with Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd. (COMAC) for an additional 100 C919 planes, marking the largest single order for this aircraft.

Developed by COMAC, the first C919 aircraft rolled off the production line in Shanghai in November 2015. The plane conducted a successful maiden flight in 2017.

China has a massive civil aviation market with great potential. According to a market forecast released by COMAC in late 2022, over the 2022-2041 period, China's civil aviation market will receive 9,284 new planes, including 6,288 single-aisle jetliners.

By 2041, China is expected to become the world's largest single-country civil aviation market, according to the forecast.

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency
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