April 18, 2024

The Queens County Citizen

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China’s first aircraft has completed its first commercial flight

China's first aircraft has completed its first commercial flight

Beijing hopes the C919 can compete with more popular foreign aircraft such as the Boeing 737 MAX and the Airbus A320.

“In the future, many passengers will be able to choose to fly on a larger aircraft with a national design,” state television channel CCTV explained.

According to CCTV, China Eastern Airlines flight MU9191 landed “smoothly” at Beijing Capital International Airport, 40 minutes early at 12:30pm local time (4:30am GMT).

The flight was “very smooth, comfortable and memorable. I will remember it for a long time,” a passenger on board told CCTV after landing.

Footage on the channel showed the plane taking off from Shanghai’s Hongqiao Airport on Sunday morning with 130 passengers on board.

Before takeoff, state media showed dozens of passengers admiring the sleek white plane at Shanghai airport.

The next plane boarded and, after taxiing on the runway, took off.

All passengers received red boarding passes and enjoyed a sumptuous “themed meal” on board to celebrate the event, CCTV said.

China, which is eager to achieve self-sufficiency in the field of technology, has invested heavily in the manufacture of this first aircraft designed by China.

The plane was built by the state-owned company Comac, but most of the machine’s components came from other countries.

Increasing demand for flights

CCTV reported that the C919 will be mobilized from Monday for regular routes operated by China Eastern Airlines to connect Shanghai to Chengdu (South).

The first model of the narrow-body aircraft, which can carry 164 passengers, was officially delivered to the Chinese airline in December 2022.

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Comac deputy chief executive Zhang Yujin told state-backed news agency The Paper in January that the company had registered more than 1,200 orders for its device.

Zhang Yujin said at the time that the state-owned manufacturer plans to increase its annual production capacity to 150 models in five years.

Asia, and especially China, are priority targets for European Airbus and American Boeing, which seek to take advantage of growing demand for aircraft from the sizable middle class.

In April, Airbus announced it would double its production capacity in China and signed an agreement to build a second assembly line in Tianjin (northeast) for the A320.

Tianjin’s first assembly site opened in 2008 and produces four A320s per month. Airbus hopes to increase that to six per month by the end of 2023.

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