China’s first homegrown large passenger jet took its maiden flight after 16 years in the making — check it out

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The C919 departs Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport for Beijing Capital International Airport on its maiden commercial flight.

China’s first domestically-made large passenger jet completed its maiden commercial flight Sunday.
The 164-seat C919 aircraft flew from Shanghai to Beijing, operated by China Eastern Airlines.
With the jet, China hopes to compete with the world’s two major aircraft makers – Airbus and Boeing.

China’s first domestically-made large passenger jet has completed its maiden commercial flight. 

The 164-seat C919 aircraft, made by the state-owned aerospace manufacturer Commercial Aviation Corporation of China (Comac), made the journey from Shanghai to Beijing on Sunday morning. The flight was operated by China Eastern Airlines, which received the jet in December.

The C919 departs Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport for Beijing Capital International Airport on its maiden commercial flight.

Nearly 130 passengers were on board for the maiden flight, which took around two hours, Comac said. Passengers received red boarding passes and a “themed” meal, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported, including a dessert featuring the aircraft’s logo. Passengers also waved Chinese flags during the flight, per the broadcaster.

China has been working on the jet for more than a decade under plans to compete with the world’s two major aircraft makers — Europe’s Airbus and the US’ Boeing.

“I’m really confident in our country,” Liu Peng, a passenger on the flight, told Reuters, per a translation by the outlet. “Whether talking about core technology or comfort level, both will get better and better.”

The C919 shortly after taking off from Shanghai Hongqiao Airport.

Lv Boyuan, a student, told Reuters that the news of the maiden flight made him feel “very emotional.”

“When I heard about C919’s maiden flight, I spent the whole week paying attention to everything about this development,” he told the outlet, adding that he tried to buy tickets “from the moment they were released.” He told Reuters that he planned to take a C919 flight from Chengdu to Shanghai on Monday.

Crowds gather to watch the C919 land at Beijing Capital International Airport during its maiden commercial flight.

China’s first domestic jet, the ARJ21, went into service in 2016. It is considerably smaller than the C919, with the largest aircraft having 97 seats.

The C919’s commercial debut was initially slated for 2016, but was delayed by a number of technical difficulties and supply issues. The first C919 was ultimately manufactured in 2015, and the aircraft made its first test flight two years later. It was publicly debuted at China’s Zhuhai Airshow in November.

Comac says it has already secured more than 1,200 orders for the C919, per The BBC. This includes five orders placed by China Eastern Airlines in 2021, with the planes set to be based out of Shanghai.

The C919 has two cabins, with eight seats in business class and 156 in economy. Comac says its interior, passenger seats, and in-flight entertainment systems are all custom-designed. 

Passengers sit on board the C919’s maiden commercial flight.

But about 60% of the parts used to make the plane are supplied by American companies including General Electric, Honeywell, and Eaton, Nikkei Asia reported, citing a report by the US think tank the Center for Strategic & International Studies.

This reliance on imports could be pushing the prices up. Bloomberg reported the list price of the C919 is about $99 million, making it only marginally cheaper than Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 and Airbus’ A320neo.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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