China Eastern set to operate C919’s first commercial flight on Sunday

Beijing, May 26 (BNA): China Eastern Airlines, the first customer of the country’s domestic C919 narrow-body jetliner, will launch the aircraft’s first commercial flight on Sunday, the company’s app showed on Friday.

Flight C919 with flight number MU9191 will take off at 10:45 am Beijing time (0245 GMT) from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport and arrive at Beijing Capital Airport at 1:10 pm

The app also showed it would fly again on Sunday afternoon, back from Beijing to Shanghai.

The commercial operation of the C919 marks a milestone in the country’s hopes that the plane will break the duopoly between Airbus and Boeing in the global aerospace industry.

Built by Commercial Aviation Corporation of China (COMAC) to rival the Airbus (AIR.PA) A320neo and Boeing (BA.N) 737 MAX single-aisle aircraft families, the C919 has made many flights without passengers.

The airline and manufacturer gave its first commercial flight a bit of publicity. But speculation that the flight would happen on Sunday surfaced on Chinese social media after Shanghai Stamp Collecting Corporation released a photo of a commemorative stamp of Flight C919, dated May 28.

China Eastern did not say who would be traveling on the plane and did not respond to Reuters requests for comment on Friday.

Netizens said that the airline opened an appointment channel earlier this year on its app for the public to book tickets.

China Eastern signed a contract for five C919 aircraft in March 2021 in the aircraft’s first commercial order. The Shanghai-based carrier took delivery of its first C919, numbered B-919A, in December and has begun 100 hours of empty aircraft validation test flights.

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China’s state news agency Xinhua said last year that the C919 would make its first commercial flight in the spring.

The 164-seat aircraft comes in a two-class cabin layout, consisting of business and economy seats.

Although the C919 is assembled in China, it relies heavily on Western components, including engines and avionics, from companies including GE (GE.N), Safran (SAF.PA), and Honeywell International (HON. O).

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