China Delivers the C919, Its First Homegrown Passenger Jet and Hopes to Challenge Airbus and Boeing

China's C919 passenger plane is a rival of Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX aircraft families.

First C919 Delivered To China Eastern Airlines
The first C919 large passenger aircraft of China Eastern Airlines lands at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport on December 9, 2022 in Shanghai, China. 2023. (Photo by Yin Liqin/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images

A C919 aircraft, China’s first domestically developed passenger jet, was delivered to China Eastern Airlines, today (Dec. 9) received its first order of C919, marking a milestone in the country’s bid to compete with Western aviation giants Boeing and Airbus.

The C919, built by the Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC), is a rival of Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX aircraft families. The airplane was certified for safe operations in September and mass production in November.

China Eastern Airlines has ordered five C919 planes. It said it expects to receive the remaining four aircraft over the next two years. The C919 is scheduled to begin commercial operation in early 2023 with a maiden flight from Shanghai to Beijing.

The C919 delivered today has 164 seats, including eight in business class. China Eastern Airlines previously disclosed the aircraft cost $99 million, comparable to similar passenger jets sold by Airbus and Boeing.

China’s four largest airlines operate a total of about 2,200 Airbus and Boeing planes, according to Bloomberg. This summer, the Chinese government ordered 292 passenger jets from Airbus for three state-owned airlines. It’s the largest order Airbus has ever sold.

First C919 Delivered To China Eastern Airlines
An interior view of a C919 passenger jet. Wan Quan/VCG via Getty Images
First C919 Delivered To China Eastern Airlines
A C919 passenger jet sits parked at Pudong base of Assembly Manufacturing Center of Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd. (COMAC) on December 9, 2022 in Shanghai, China. Wan Quan/VCG via Getty Images
China Delivers the C919, Its First Homegrown Passenger Jet and Hopes to Challenge Airbus and Boeing