A turning point for the airline industry. The Comac C919, the first airliner of Chinese design, made its maiden commercial flight on Sunday May 28. With this medium-haul, which can take up to 190 passages, China hopes to compete with its Western competitors, the European Airbus and the American Boeing in particular.
“In the future, most passengers will be able to choose to travel on board large aircraft of national design”, described the state television channel CCTV. Before takeoff, state media showed dozens of passengers gathered at Shanghai airport to admire the sleek white aircraft. The latter then boarded the aircraft which, after taxiing on the runway, took off.
A smooth flight
The C919 took off from Shanghai Hongqiao Airport on Sunday morning, CCTV footage showed, which said 130 passengers were on board. China Eastern Airlines flight MU9191 has landed “slowly” at Beijing Capital International Airport about 40 minutes early at around 12:30 p.m. (local time), the state broadcaster reported.
Built by the state company Comac, the C919 is however composed of many parts from other countries. After this inaugural flight, it should enter service on Monday, May 29 on China Eastern Airlines flights connecting Shanghai to Chengdu, in the south of the country.
This new aircraft is arriving on a Chinese aviation market that has been growing for a decade, driven by the development of the middle class in particular. En April, Airbus announced that it would double its production capacity in China and signed an agreement to build a second assembly line in Tianjin (northeast) for the A320.