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China Eastern Airlines Orders 100 COMAC C919s

The order represents the largest to-date for the type.

A Comac C919 conducting high-speed taxiing (Photo: COMAC)

On Sept. 28, China Eastern and COMAC announced a new order of 100 COMAC C919s. This order is yet the largest confirmed order of C919 from a single airline, and the 100 jets will be delivered to China Eastern from 2024 through 2031. The delivery schedule reported by the media is listed below:

Year 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031
Delivery 5 10 10 10 15 15 15 20

Other major airlines with COMAC C919 intentional orders, such as China Eastern’s fellow Chinese state-owned airlines Air China and China Southern, have not yet announced any new orders for C919. Experts estimate that, with this order, China Eastern has locked a quarter of the production capacity of C919 until 2031.

According to the delivery plan, COMAC is set to deliver all five initial orders of C919 placed in 2021 to China Eastern before the end of 2023. However, this task may be challenging considering the last quarter of the year has already begun and three more jets need to be delivered.

The COMAC C919 has already carried 50,000 passengers

COMAC C919 was certified in September 2022, and the first C919 was delivered to China Eastern in December 2022. After a five-month trial and test flights, it finally entered service on May 28, 2023. The second C919 was delivered to China Eastern later on July 16. Two C919s are currently scheduled to fly two pairs of flights between Shanghai’s Hongqiao International Airport and Chengdu’s Tianfu International Airport. The third C919 delivered to China Eastern was already rolled out of the production line and doing test flights at COMAC’s facility in Shanghai and elsewhere in China, which indicates that the jet will be delivered to China Eastern soon.

Since entering into service, two COMAC C919s are steadily flying the MU9197/9198 and MU9189/9190 flights between Shanghai and Chengdu. With 164 available seats per flight, likely, C919 has already carried over 50,000 passengers. The comments have been mostly positive, on the passenger experience, noise level, reliability, and China Eastern’s C919 special onboard supplies.

Another COMAC jet, the COMAC ARJ21 regional jet, has also been successful in Chinese regional markets. Compared to the performance and passenger experience with ARJ21, C919 has made a major leap in efficiency, reliability, cabin environments, and more. Some successful technologies from C919 were also able to upgrade the ARJ21.

Overall, this 100-jet order was a major win for COMAC, marking a successful trial run for its C919. Moving forward, we will continue to focus on C919’s future deliveries, as well as further major deals with this newest competitor for Airbus’ A320neo and Boeing’s 737MAX.

Lei Yan

Author

  • Lei Yan

    Lei is from Inner Mongolia, China, and now lives in Guangzhou. He grew up in an aviation family, where his passion began. During his time at Penn State University, he studied Industrial Engineering specializing in operations research, and he graduated with an honor’s thesis on airport gate assignment optimization. Now, he is a Purchasing Manager with Procter & Gamble. In his free time, he enjoys flying, reading, and wandering around the city.

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