SHANGHAI, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- China Eastern Airlines signed a purchase contract on Thursday with Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd. (COMAC) for an additional 100 C919 planes, marking the largest single order for the China-developed large passenger aircraft.
According to the plan, the new C919 aircraft purchased by the airline company will be delivered in batches from 2024 to 2031.
Zhang Yuan, general manager of the planning department at China Eastern Airlines, said that the new purchase deal is being made at a time when the civil aviation market holds significant potential, the airline is in need of fleet renewal, and the C919 has demonstrated promising initial commercial performance.
China Eastern Airlines placed an order for five C919 planes in 2021. The company has taken delivery of two jets and put them into operation on the air route between the cities of Shanghai and Chengdu.
As of Sept. 26, the two planes have accumulated more than 1,140 flight hours, including over 867 hours in commercial operations. They have completed 296 commercial flight trips, carrying over 35,000 passengers.
China Eastern Airlines expects to take delivery of its third C919 aircraft in October this year. The company plans to open new routes by June 2024, allowing more passengers to experience the C919.
Since the C919 project was launched in 2007, it has undergone a long journey of design, manufacture, flight tests and eventual commercialization.
Developed by COMAC, the first C919 aircraft rolled off the production line in Shanghai in November 2015. The plane conducted a successful maiden flight in 2017.
The C919 launched its first commercial flight in May, marking its official entry into the civil aviation market.
China has a massive civil aviation market with great potential. According to a market forecast released by COMAC in late 2022, over the 2022-2041 period, China's civil aviation market will receive 9,284 new planes, including 6,288 single-aisle jetliners.
By 2041, China is expected to be the world's largest single-country civil aviation market, said the forecast.