While China’s home-built aircraft, the COMAC C919 received its Type Certificate (TC) in September 2022, the narrow-body jet is yet to carry passengers on a commercial flight. That, however, is about to change, as local media reported that the C919 will be operational “as soon as possible.”
The local Civil Aviation Administration (CAAC) certified the C919 on September 29, 2022. The aircraft, which is hailed as China’s answer to the Airbus A320 and the Boeing 737 families, has gone through a lengthy development process, including numerous delays. Initially, the single-aisle jet was supposed to enter commercial service in 2016.
Now, according to reports by China Daily, a government-associated news site, the C919 has met all of the requirements laid out by the CAAC and will be flying paying passengers in the first half of 2023. The outlet, citing Jian Wang, the secretary of China Eastern Airlines (CIAH) (CEA), noted that “other ordered C919 planes will be produced and delivered according to schedule.”
Previously, China Eastern Airlines (CIAH) (CEA), which became the launch carrier of the type when it ordered five units in 2021, indicated that it expected to receive a single C919 before the end of 2022, rather than the previously planned three jets. According to the company’s interim results presentation as of August 31, 2022, it plans to receive a total of five aircraft in the next year: a single unit by the end of 2022 and four in 2023.
One COMAC C919, registered as B001F, completed a proving flight on November 20, 2022, departing from Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) and arriving at Yangzhou Taizhou International Airport (YTY), the same outlet reported, citing the arrival airport’s WeChat account. Flight tracking websites showcase that the aircraft indeed departed PVG, yet its final destination was unclear, as its Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast (ADS-B) was switched off mid-journey at Flight Level (FL) 018 (1,825 feet). On November 22, 2022, the aircraft was spotted flying circles over YTY, according to adsbexchange.com data.
COMAC’s website shows that the aircraft, which can seat between 158 and 168 passengers for a range of between 4,075 and 5,555 kilometers, amassed 815 orders from 28 different customers.