China’s C919 makes maiden flight

Comac C919,  China’s first ever indigenous airliner has successfully performed its maiden flight, taking off from Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) at 2:00 PM local time. Production issues withheld the plane’s maiden flight at least twice since 2014. The first appearance of the jet took place in November 2015 at a roll-out ceremony in Shanghai.

The twin-engine narrow-body C919 is presented as a competitor to Airbus A320 and Boeing 737. The airliner was produced by the commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac), a national enterprise established in 2008 with the ambitious plan of producing China’s first successful passenger jet.

The aircraft is due to launch its first flight with China Eastern Airlines. COMAC previously stated that it had received 570 orders for the C919 aircraft from 23 customers. The aircraft is scheduled for the first delivery in 2019.

According to COMAC, the potential market for the C919 is estimated at around 650 billion yuan ($96 billion). However, an analysis of Ishka Global stated that for the success of the program COMAC has to focus on such after-market infrastructures as MRO services and spare parts availability. 

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