China Eastern Airlines Conducts First Comac C919 Commercial Flights

Comac C919 receives water cannon salute at Beijing Capital Airport after the aircraft type's first commercial flight.


China’s indigenously developed civil airliner, the Comac C919, commenced commercial service with launch customer China Eastern Airlines on May 28, completing the research, development, manufacturing, and commissioning phases of the aircraft program.

Carrying 128 passengers, Flight MU9191 departed Shanghai Hongqiao Airport for Beijing Capital Airport at 10:32 a.m. local time before landing at 12:31 p.m. With a seating capacity of 156 in economy and eight in business class, this means the flight was 78% full.

The aircraft B-919A was delivered to China Eastern in Shanghai on Dec. 9, 2022. It has clocked a little more than 100 hr. of internal certification and test flights.

This route is largely symbolic, connecting the country’s largest city with its capital, which is also among its busiest routes. Instead, the aircraft will be on scheduled service between Shanghai and Chengdu starting May 29.

State media Xinhua says China Eastern will take delivery of its second C919 in mid-June and the remaining three over the next two years.

Aviation Week Network’s Fleet Discovery shows 697 C919s are on order, mostly by Chinese airlines and China-based or owned lessors.

Chen Chuanren

Chen Chuanren is the Southeast Asia and China Editor for the Aviation Week Network’s (AWN) Air Transport World (ATW) and the Asia-Pacific Defense Correspondent for AWN, joining the team in 2017.