The short-medium-range single-aisle symbolises China’s efforts to develop its own commercial aircraft to shake up the Airbus-Boeing duopoly
The C919, the first medium-haul aircraft made in China, has obtained certification from the Chinese regulator CAAC following 12 years of development and 5 years of testing, local media reported, with an expected start of operations in early 2023.
The jet, built by state-owned aircraft manufacturer COMAC (Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China), was given the green light during an official ceremony at Beijing airport on Thursday, according to media reports and photos posted on social media.
The C919 is a short- to medium-haul aircraft capable of carrying 158 to 174 passengers over 4,075 kilometres. It would directly compete with the popular Airbus A220 and A320 and Boeing 737 aeroplanes.
Although it is assembled in China, the C919 is largely made up of Western parts, in particular, its Leap-1C engines manufactured by the Franco-American consortium CFM International (General Electric and Safran).
China Eastern Airlines will be the first airline to fly the aircraft on domestic and international routes. It has ordered five C919 planes for entry into service in the first quarter of 2023.
COMAC claims to have received a total of 815 orders from 28 mainly Chinese companies, although it has not yet received the green light from US and European regulators.
Until now, COMAC only offered a regional aircraft, the ARJ21. Comac further develops a long-haul aircraft in cooperation with Russia, the C929.