The world’s first C919 passenger jet received by China Eastern Airlines kicked off a 100-hour inspection flight on December 26. This flight will comprehensively test whether the preparations of China Eastern Airlines’ systems for the commercial operation of the C919 are reliable, and whether they can provide passengers with safe and comfortable domestic large aircraft voyages, completing the final step ahead of upcoming commercial use.
The first flight is planned to start from Shanghai Hongqiao Airport to Beijing Capital Airport at 13:00 on December 26, then make a backtrack at 17:25. It is estimated that the round-trip flight time will take 3.5 hours. This is also the first C919 delivered to China Eastern Airlines to arrive in Beijing.
In addition, China Eastern Airlines will apply to the Civil Aviation Administration Of China for “Operation Specification,” and the first C919 is expected to meet the requirements as early as the spring of 2023 and be put into commercial passenger operation. In addition, the remaining four C919 orders from China Eastern Airlines will be delivered in the next two years.
It took the C919 16 years to complete the process from project establishment to delivery. This means that China’s civil aviation transportation market will have jet trunk aircraft independently developed by China for the first time.
The localization rate of the C919 is about 60%. The airframe design and production of plane nose, vertical tail, wings and fuselage were independently completed by Chinese companies. However, the core components, including the engine, electromechanical system and avionics system, are not made in China.
According to these details, some people think that the C919 is an assembly machine and not a domestically-made aircraft in the truest sense. However, global supply and international cooperation are common practices in the large aircraft industry. Taking the Boeing 787 aircraft as an example, Boeing is only responsible for its overall design and system integration, as well as the production tasks and final assembly tasks of a few parts, and a large number of other subsystems and components are subcontracted to international professional companies.
From a commercial point of view, building a global supply chain is conducive to opening up markets. When the C919 gets an airworthiness certificate in European and American countries, it can compete head-on with Boeing and Airbus in overseas markets.