China Eastern Airlines COMAC C919 has returned to the skies to conduct test flights after months spent on the ground.
The narrow-body aircraft, registered as B-919A, operated two test flights on May 17, 2023. The first flight departed and arrived at Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG), while the second departed PVG and arrived at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (SHA). These are the first flights since March 23, 2023, when the aircraft operated a brief itinerary between SHA and PVG.
Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) delivered the C919 to China Eastern Airlines in December 2022, marking a significant moment in the history of China’s aviation industry.
While the aircraft, which is a competitor to the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX aircraft families, had been slated for a 100-hour flight test program and scheduled to depart on its first commercial flight on February 28, 2023, it is yet to carry its first passengers.
In February 2023, China Eastern Airlines swapped the tentatively scheduled COMAC C919 for the Airbus A320 on flights MU9191 and MU9192 between SHA and Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK).
The airline has a total of five aircraft of the type on order and has previously stated that it expected to receive all four by the end of 2023.
Another COMAC C919, registered as B-001K, and slated for delivery to China Eastern Airlines, per ch-aviation.com data, was spotted flying on May 18, 2023. The aircraft departed Dunhuang Airport (DNH) in northern China and arrived at SHA following a four-hour and 30-minute flight.
Barring the six test frames used by COMAC, B-919A and B-001K are the only two C919 aircraft to have a registration, according to data from ch-aviation.com.
The COMAC C919 is powered by the CFM International LEAP 1-C, which is from the same aircraft engine family as the LEAP 1-A and LEAP 1-B that power the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX families, respectively. While the 737 MAX uses the LEAP 1-B exclusively, Airbus A320neo aircraft family customers also have the option to choose the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engine.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) granted the Type Certificate (TC) to COMAC C919 on September 29, 2022.