LONDON – China news sources have reported that China Eastern Airlines first COMAC C919 is set to commence a run of test flights as part of its initial approval by the Chinese regulatory body, Civil Aviation Administration of China.
The C919, which was delivered to the airline in early December, will begin conducting a series of empty aircraft verification test flights as part of the 100-hour process.
According to news sources, the first scheduled was set to take off from Shanghai Hongqiao Airport at 13:00 today, bound for Beijing Capital Airport.
The return flight to Shanghai Hongqiao Airport from Beijing Capital Airport is scheduled for 17:25. The quoted round-trip flight time for today’s initial operation is 3.5 hours.
The certification process with the Civil Aviation Administration of China includes the provision of an “Operational Specification” and the process is expected to be completed as early as Spring 2023.
China Eastern Airlines have a further four COMAC C919 aircraft on order, and these are expected to be delivered over the next two years.
About the COMAC C919
The COMAC C919 is a twin-engine jet that, depending on its configuration, will be able to accommodate between 150 and nearly 200 passengers, and has been specified to have a range of between 4,000 and 5,500 km, depending on the version.
The 164-seat configuration that comes with a two-class cabin layout, including 8 business class seats and 156 economy class ones. In the economy cabin, the middle seat in each three-seat row is 1.5 cm wider than its neighboring ones, which offers greater comfort.
The aircraft will also be a direct competitor to the world’s most popular passenger aircraft – Airbus A320 and Boeing 737. The C919 is powered by CFM International LEAP-1C engines.
The company plans to expand the project with new enlarged and downsized variants of the aircraft, as well as cargo and VIP versions.
By 2035, the manufacturer plans to capture a third of China’s narrow-body aircraft market share and a fifth of the global market.
It is estimated that China could take delivery of around 5,000 new aircraft worth a total of $670 billion over the next 20 years.
Since 2019, six C919 jets have conducted a series of ground and flight tests in places such as Shanghai, Yanliang, Dongying and Nanchang.