China's homegrown jet C919 makes its first commercial flight

May 30, 2023 4:47 am

C919, China's first domestically-manufactured large passenger jet, successfully completed its maiden commercial flight on Sunday.

The jet, which carried 128 passengers, took off from Shanghai at 10:32 am and landed in Beijing at 12:31 pm. The flight marked C919's official entry into the civil aviation market.

Created by the Commercial Aviation Corporation of China (COMAC), C919 is capable of carrying up to 192 passengers and boasting a maximum range of roughly 3,500 miles. It is considered a direct competitor to the single-aisle Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 families, which have long been stalwarts of the global aviation industry.

According to Xinhua News Agency, the C919 is China's first self-developed trunk jetliner in accordance with international airworthiness standards and owns independent intellectual property rights.

"The first commercial flight is a coming-of-age ceremony of the new aircraft, and C919 will get better and better if it stands the test of the market," said Zhang Xiaoguang, director of the marketing and sales department of COMAC. 

The C919 project was announced in 2008 and the aircraft made its maiden flight in May 2017. Despite being a homegrown aircraft, the C919 still needs international suppliers' technology and components including engines, avionics, and flight control systems

In the aviation technology sector, the US and Europe are the primary drivers in the world. 

The US is home to Boeing and hosts numerous companies specializing in avionics, engines, and other aircraft components such as Pratt & Whitney, General Electric, and Raytheon Technologies. Europe owns Airbus, one of the largest aircraft manufacturers worldwide, which competes directly with Boeing. Rolls-Royce, a leading aircraft engine manufacturer, is also based in the UK.