Chinese news outlet Global Times reports COMAC completed the first test flight of their C919 airframe destined for China Eastern Airlines from Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) on Saturday, May 14, 2022.
Test Flight Among Final Hurdles Before Delivery
According to the Chinese news website, the three-hour test flight was a success for the new aircraft. Officials for COMAC say the aircraft was in “good condition” and performed all the scheduled tasks required.
The first C919 prototype was unveiled to the world in 2015 as an alternative to the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 families of narrowbody aircraft. The aircraft is powered by the CFM LEAP-1A engine, manufactured by a joint venture of GE Aviation and Safran. Once completed, it is expected to seat up to 168 passengers with a maximum range of around 3,400 miles.
Although the Chinese manufacturer received 815 C919 orders from 28 worldwide customers, China Eastern Airlines will be the launch customer for the new narrowbody. The aircraft from the test flight is expected to be delivered to the airline sometime in 2022, pending approval from the Civil Aviation Administration of China. China Eastern has five firm orders for the C919 and is planning to add 28 more to their fleet at a cost of $99 million each.
After delivery, China Eastern plans to use the C919 for domestic flights from Shanghai to four cities: Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chengdu. It is unclear when the C919 will officially enter service.
Chinese Regulators Say More Testing is Needed
Although the test flight is one of the final steps before certification, it could still be a while before flyers are able to travel on the new aircraft. Reuters reports as of December 2021, the aircraft has only gone through 34 out of 276 certification tests with the CAAC, with no concrete timeline for the aircraft to be fully approved by regulators.
Source: frugal travel guy