China’s new C919 plane to make maiden flight in spring

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China’s new C919 plane to make maiden flight in spring

The plane, which is a rival to the Airbus A 320 neo and Boeing 737 MAX single-aisle jet families, is expected to make its maiden commercial flight next spring, according to the state-owned Xinhua News Agency.

It was certified for safe operations in September and mass production in November.

The plane delivered to China Eastern has 164 seats and was painted with the world's first C 919 on its side in Chinese and English. Its maiden route will be between Shanghai and the capital, according to industry sources.

According to Shanghai's The Paper, China Eastern plans to receive the remaining four of its first batch of C 919 orders over the next two years. China's narrowbody jet ambitions increased over the last few years due to conflicts with the United States from trade to technology that made China more worried about being too dependent on Airbus and Boeing.

According to Jefferies analysts, the commercial aviation corp of China COMAC is expected to produce around 25 C 919 s per year by the year 2030, which is far less than the current monthly rates of narrowbody production at its rivals.

COMAC didn't respond immediately to a request for comment.

The C 919 is heavily relying on Western components, including engines and flight control systems, from companies such as GE, Safran and Honeywell International.

China is trying to raise the proportion of domestic parts in the C 919, and an alternative engine called the CJ-1000 A is under development.