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China Eastern sees new plane as 'star' of its fleet

By Wang Ying in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-06 09:26

China Eastern Airlines Corp Ltd said that the C919, China's homegrown large passenger jet, is set to become the new star of its 600-plus aircraft fleet, stating that its "safety and state-of-the-art design will bring superb a flying experience to its passengers".

In a written reply to China Daily, the Shanghai-based airline, which is expected to be the first carrier to take delivery of the homegrown single-aisle passenger jet, said it was "extremely confident about the future of the C919".

China Eastern pre-ordered 20 C919s from the aircraft maker Commercial Aircraft Corp of China Ltd in 2010, and according to the purchase agreement, negotiations for the ordering of the first five planes will be launched within a year of the C919's maiden flight.

China Eastern is one of the nation's top three airlines, serving more than 100 million passengers in flights to 177 nations and regions in 1,062 destinations every year.

ICBC Financial Leasing Co Ltd, the subsidiary of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, announced its intention to purchase 45 C919 aircraft in October 2011. ICBC Financial Leasing is looking to support COMAC with joint marketing, market surveys, signing more orders and all-around financial services in the future, said Xu Qing, deputy CEO of ICBC Leasing.

"C919 will serve the most attractive market. The aircraft will be used in the domestic market, the Asia-Pacific region and the African market in its early days. By continuously optimizing the aircraft's performance, the C919 will go global in the future," said Xu.

With regard to the two dominant commercial aircraft makers-Boeing Co and Airbus Group SE-she suggested the future C919 should pay more attention to service at the beginning to build up its brand first.

"It's important to pay attention to customer support and services, and enhance product quality and stability. Overseas marketing should be based on continuously optimized products and services, an efficient maintenance support, and efficiency of operations," said Xu.

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