On the morning of September 13, two C919 airliners with registration numbers B-001F and B-001J respectively took off from Shanghai Pudong International Airport about half an hour apart. The destination of the two planes was Beijing Capital International Airport. At 10:51 and 11:23 on the same day, the two planes landed. This is also the first time that C919 airliners have landed at the Capital Airport. Previously, in July this year, a C919 flew from Dongying Shengli Airport, Shandong Province, to Beijing Daxing International Airport, thus completing the first landing of this China-made commercial airliner in Beijing.
Many people close to Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd. (COMAC), the manufacturer of the C919, say that the current plan suggests that on September 19, or 9/19, a day with symbolic meaning, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) will issue the airworthiness certificate for the C919 in Beijing, according to a report by China Times. It also means that the jets will be able to start deliveries to operators.
Besides, the first C919 will be delivered to the first operator, China Eastern Airlines, before the end of the year, and the operator may put the new airliner into operation in the first quarter of 2023.
The C919 is the first self-developed trunk jetliner designed, developed and manufactured by China itself in accordance with international civil aviation regulations, and owns independent intellectual property rights. According to the data released by COMAC, the aircraft has 158-168 seats with a range of 4,075-5,555 kilometers, close to the standard of the current mainstream single-aisle trunk airliner.
COMAC announced in August that the C919 had completed the verification stages and test flight, and a fleet of 6 test aircraft and 1 first to-be-delivered aircraft has been conducting frequent and intensive flight tests at many domestic airports since July. The flight test also aims to verify and accumulate experience in the routes between different Chinese airports and the adaptability of airports after delivery and operation.
The C919 is another attempt by China to research and develop a trunk commercial airliner after its Shanghai Y-10, a four engined narrow-body jet airliner developed in the 1970s by the Shanghai Aircraft Research Institute. In 2008, COMAC was established specifically for this purpose as a commercial carrier for the operation of the project. In early 2009, COMAC released the C919 project, and in the same year began to sign cooperation intentions and procurement contracts with suppliers. CAAC officially accepted the application for a C919-type certification submitted by COMAC in 2010. This is one of the key steps that a new airliner model can be approved from the project to the final commercial operation under the current commercial aircraft manufacturing and operation system. Only after obtaining the type certificate, production certificate and airworthiness certificate, does it mean that a commercial airliner has actually entered the operational stage.
The C919 completed final assembly in November 2015 and completed its maiden flight in May 2017. In May 2022, the first C919 to be delivered to China Eastern Airlines with registration number B-001J completed its maiden test flight in Shanghai.