Caixin
Mar 02, 2021 07:24 AM
BUSINESS & TECH

China Eastern Places 1st Formal Order for Homegrown C919 Jetliner

The C919 targets the same market as the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737, the two best-selling commercial aircraft.
The C919 targets the same market as the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737, the two best-selling commercial aircraft.

What’s new: China Eastern Airlines (600115.SH) signed a contract Monday to buy five of China's homegrown C919 jetliners in the first formal order placed by global airlines, state plane-maker Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China (COMAC) said.

The planes are expected to be delivered by the end of this year once they are certified by China's aviation regulator.

The aircraft would be based at China Eastern's Shanghai headquarters and be deployed on routes to Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Wuhan and others.

What’s the context: China Eastern is the first customer for the C919, a narrow-bodied plane that targets the same market as the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737, the two best-selling commercial aircraft.

Under development since 2008, the C919 made its first test flight in May 2017 with six prototype airplanes operating in different regions across China. The plane completed its final test flights before commercial delivery in early December, according to a senior official at China’s Civil Aviation Administration. The regulator will evaluate the plane’s safety performance under different flight conditions to decide whether it can be approved for commercial roll-out.

COMAC's C919 has received 815 provisional orders, mostly from domestic airlines or leasing firms.

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use. To read the full story in Chinese, click here.

Contact reporter Han Wei (weihan@caixin.com) and editor Bob Simison (bobsimison@caixin.com).

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