The first large passenger jet domestically-produced in China, the C919, is set to make its inaugural commercial flight this weekend. File Photo by Ming/EPA-EFE
May 26 (UPI) -- The first large passenger jet domestically-produced in China, is set to make its inaugural commercial flight this weekend.
China Eastern Airlines is expected to fly the narrow-body Comac C919 plane from Shanghai to Beijing Sunday afternoon on what is the busiest domestic route in the country.
The company updated its schedule to reflect the aircraft being assigned to the route and said it will use a lottery system to award seats to those who applied for tickets.
Sunday's flight will mark the culmination of years of research and development by the state-run Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd. The plane's first test flight took place almost exactly six years ago as China looks to compete with Boeing and Airbus in the commercial aviation space.
The plane's main competitors are the Airbus A320 family of planes, and Boeing's 737, which is the most widely used passenger jet in the world.
China's government first announced plans in 2007 to develop the aircraft, targeting 2014 for a first flight and aircraft delivery starting in 2016.
The plane first rolled off the assembly line in 2015 before making its first test flight in 2017. The twin-engine C919 has a layout of 158 to 192 seats, and a range of between 2,532 and 3,451 miles, according to the company's parameters. The airline has set up the inaugural flight to have164 seats in a two-class cabin configuration.
China Eastern Airlines received the first delivery of the C919 in December 2022, putting the single-aisle passenger jet through around 100 hours of test flights.
The flight is scheduled to depart at 10:45 a.m. and arrive around 1:10 p.m, returning to Shanghai later in the day.