HOME MADEChina’s First Domestically-Manufactured Large Passenger Aircraft C919 Completes Inaugural Flight

China’s first domestically-manufactured large passenger jet has successfully completed its inaugural commercial flight, marking a significant milestone in China’s aviation industry. State TV captured the momentous event as the C919 took off from Shanghai, embarking on its journey to Beijing. Developed by the Commercial Aviation Corporation of China (Comac), the C919 aims to challenge the duopoly of Airbus and Boeing in the single-aisle jet market.

While the 164-seater C919 represents a major step forward for China’s aviation ambitions, it still relies heavily on Western components, including engines and avionics. Nevertheless, the Shanghai-Beijing leg of the flight, with over 130 passengers on board, was successfully completed in under three hours, eliciting positive sentiments from travelers. Passengers expressed confidence in China’s aviation capabilities, with expectations that the C919 will continue to improve over time.

Designed as a competitor to Airbus and Boeing aircraft, the C919 boasts a larger passenger capacity and extended range compared to its predecessor, the ARJ21, which entered service in 2016. China Eastern Airlines, backed by the state, has already placed orders for five of these advanced aircraft. Comac, with plans to manufacture 150 planes annually within five years, has secured over 1,200 orders for the C919. However, some experts caution that a significant portion of these orders may be in the form of letters of intent from domestic customers.

President Xi Jinping has hailed the C919 project as a testament to China’s innovation and technological progress. Having undergone multiple test flights since its maiden flight in 2017, the C919 represents China’s determination to establish a strong foothold in the global aviation market and reduce reliance on foreign aircraft manufacturers.