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China Eastern set to operate C919’s first commercial flight on Sunday

BEIJING (Reuters) – China Eastern Airlines, the country’s first customer of the C919 narrow-body jet, will launch the plane’s first commercial flight on Sunday, the carrier’s app said on Friday.

Flight C919 will take off as flight number MU9191 at 10:45 a.m. Beijing time (02:45 GMT) from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport and arrive at Beijing Airport at 1:10 p.m.

The commercial operation of the C919 marks a milestone in the country’s hopes that the aircraft will break the long-standing Airbus-Boeing duopoly in the global airline manufacturing industry.

Manufactured by Commercial Aviation Corp of China (COMAC) to compete with the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX single-aisle families, the C919 has flown many flights without passengers.

China Eastern said on Thursday that the C919 will enter service “in the near future” and the aircraft will operate commercially with Shanghai as its main base. The airline did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

On Tuesday, the Shanghai Stamp Collecting Corporation said a promotional stamp would commemorate the C919’s first flight on Sunday.

China Eastern signed a contract for five C919s in March 2021 as part of the first commercial agreement for the aircraft. The Shanghai-headquartered carrier received its first C919, numbered B-919A, in December and began 100 hours of test flights checking empty planes.

China’s state-run Xinhua news agency said last year that the C919 would make its first commercial flight in the spring.

The 164-seat aircraft comes with a two-class cabin layout, consisting of business and economy seats.

Although the C919 is assembled in China, it is highly dependent

on western components, including engines and avionics, from

companies including GE, Safran and Honeywell


(Reporting by Albee Zhang, Sophie Yu and Brenda Goh; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Gerry Doyle)


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