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China Eastern gets sixth C919 airliner

By WANG YING | | Updated: 2024-05-28 23:20
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A C919 passenger aircraft, the sixth operated by Eastern Airlines, lands at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport on Tuesday. The airline ordered another 100 C919 planes after its first purchase of five in 2021. [Photo by YIN LIQIN / CHINA NEWS SERVICE]  

China's first domestic narrow-body airliner, the C919, has proved its reliability after a year of stable performance, and with more coming into operation it is expected to play a greater role in the civil aviation industry, experts and industry analysts said on Tuesday.

China Eastern received its sixth C919 in Shanghai on Monday from the manufacturer Commercial Aircraft Corp of China, or COMAC.

The Shanghai-based carrier purchased its first five C919s in 2021, and signed a deal with COMAC in September for another 100. The planes will be delivered over the next seven years.

The C919 made its maiden commercial flight between Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport and Beijing Capital International Airport on May 28 last year.

China Eastern is the first commercial operator of the C919, and the valuable experience accumulated in operation will pave the way for the aircraft to mature, said Zhu Rui, from aviation data provider VariFlight.

The first five C919 jets have conducted 2,181 commercial flights and 6,090 hours of commercial operation, safely carrying about 300,000 passengers as of Monday.

The jetliner's commercial operation recorded no occurrence of any major safety incident, which indicates the reliability and punctuality of the jets, said Lin Zhijie, an aviation industry analyst.

"As the C919 is being operated on more routes and flights on a daily basis, we expect its utilization rate can approach the level of mature jet models like that of Airbus and Boeing," said Lin, who is also a columnist at one of China's biggest civil aviation websites,

Qi Qi, an associate professor at Guangzhou Civil Aviation College, said: "As a new aircraft model, it will take quite a long time for the C919 to grow into a well-recognized and sophisticated one in the industry. The C919 needs to win market recognition, nurture its fleet, gain consumer confidence, and strengthen its production and supply chain before reaching the long-term goal of breaking the duopoly of Boeing and Airbus."

China's first trunk jetliner designed in accordance with international standards, the C919 is often compared to the Airbus A320 and the Boeing B737 series.

The C919 has reached six major airports in Chinese cities including Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu in Sichuan province and Xi'an in Shaanxi province.

It was displayed overseas for the first time at an international air show in Singapore in February.

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