Self-developed C919 arrives at China Eastern headquarters
China's first domestically developed narrow-body aircraft, the C919, was delivered to China Eastern Airlines, its first operator worldwide, by its developer Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC) on Friday.
It marks a significant milestone in China's narrow-body aircraft development.
The jetliner finished its first flight from Shanghai Pudong International Airport to Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, where China Eastern is based. It was welcomed by a "water-gate" ceremony after it landed at around 12pm.
China Eastern sent three experienced pilots to take the first flight.
"Although the weather is not good today, the riding experience was smooth when the plane landed," said Zhang Chi, deputy general manager with China Eastern.
Friday's weather was rainy and cloudy.
He said that the plane did not fly at a very high altitude and that it felt pretty smooth and stable on the flight.
The registration number of the plane is B-919A. "B" represents that it is for China civil aviation, "919" denotes the plane type, and "A" indicates that it is the first one, according to COMAC.
The aircraft also has a special logo on its fuselage reading "The World's First C919."
Travelers are expected to begin flying on the C919 next year, including routes to Shanghai, Beijing, Xi'an, Shenzhen and Guangzhou.
Before it is officially used for passenger travel, it will undergo more than 100 hours of passenger-free verification tests, according to China Eastern.
The aircraft has 164 seats, which are also domestically made; eight for business class and 156 for economy class.
A special design is that the middle seat in each row is 1.5 centimeters wider than the window and aisle seats. This is adopted to improve the passenger experience.
Seats in business class have an aluminum-alloy structure with a cradle design with a backrest reclining angle of up to 120 degrees and a distance of more than 1 meter between rows.
China Eastern has purchased an initial batch of five C919s, becoming the jet's first operator. The other four will be delivered to the airline over the next two years.
In the future, more C919s will serve China's civil airlines.
Some 300 C919s were sold to seven leasing companies at the 2022 Airshow China in mid-November.
The C919 gained its type certificate in October and three more certificates at the ceremony.