China Eastern Airlines will be the first global customer for the domestically made regional jetliner C919, the airline said at a signing ceremony on Monday, a milestone showing the aircraft is on the road to commercial operation.
China Eastern said that it has formally signed a purchase contract for the first batch of five C919 airplanes with producer Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC) in Shanghai, without saying when deliveries will start.
The C919 is a large jet airliner developed by China with independent intellectual property rights, a rival to the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 series aircraft.
The plane rolled off the production line in 2015 and completed its maiden flight from Shanghai Pudong International Airport on May 5, 2017. The regulator issued the first Type Inspection Authorization for the C919 program in November 2020, showing the aircraft has officially begun certification flight tests.
China Eastern said that it deeply participated in the design and development process of the C919 aircraft, including crew training, and it will continue to promote cooperation and innovation in the industry chain.
The carrier said the C919 aircraft will be used on routes from Shanghai to cities such as Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
China Eastern Airlines has a route network to 1,036 destinations in 170 countries and regions, with annual passenger traffic of more than 130 million, ranking among the top 10 in the world.
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