The first C919 large passenger aircraft was delivered to China Eastern Airlines in Shanghai on December 9. With registration number B-919A, the aircraft marks the completion of a critical step in China’s efforts to develop domestic commercial operations in civil aviation.
The aircraft completed its maiden flight from Shanghai Pudong International Airport to Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport during the delivery process. China Eastern Airlines selected three senior captains with a total flight time exceeding 50,000 hours.
In the registration number, B stands for Chinese civil aviation aircraft, 919 is the model name, and A indicates the first, highlighting the extraordinary significance of its maiden flight. In addition to the standardized painting of China Eastern Airlines, a Chinese seal reading “world’s first C919” in Chinese is printed on the front part of the plane.
The C919 is China’s first homegrown large passenger aircraft in accordance with international airworthiness standards, with complete intellectual property rights. The project was established in 2007, then the plane made its first flight in 2017, obtained a type certificate on September 29 and a production certificate on November 29.
It features an advanced aerodynamic design, propulsion system and materials, as well as lower carbon emissions and higher fuel efficiency. The cockpit is equipped with a new generation of integrated side operating levers and five 15.4-inch HD displays.
The aircraft adopts a 164-seat configuration that comes with a two-class cabin layout, including eight business class seats and 156 economy class seats. Business class seats use an all-aluminum alloy frame structure, and the distance between the front and rear seats exceeds 1 meter. In the economy cabin, the middle seat in each three-seat row is 1.5 cm wider than the neighboring ones, offering more comfort.
With an aisle height of 2.25 meters, the plane comes with an efficient air filtration system, a passenger-centric lighting system and low noise. Besides, there are twenty 12” drop-down screens that can play 1080P videos.
After delivery, it will undergo more than 100 hours of empty aircraft verification test flights, with stops including Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou. The aircraft is expected to be put into commercial use in the spring of 2023. The remaining four C919s ordered by China Eastern Airlines will be delivered over the next two years.