Orders for China's domestically developed C919 large passenger aircraft have reached 1,061, with two already delivered, He Dongfeng, chairman of Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC), said at the Pujiang Innovation Forum held in Shanghai on Sunday.
He said the C919 has 156-192 seats with a flying distance of 5,550 kilometers, and the aircraft will be upgraded to offer 130-240 seats, local news outlet Shanghai Observer reported on Sunday.
Two C919 planes started serving China Eastern Airlines flights between Shanghai and Chengdu in Southwest China's Sichuan Province in early August, which was a milestone for the aircraft, Wang Ya'nan, an aviation expert at Beihang University and chief editor of Aerospace Knowledge, told the Global Times on Sunday.
"Given the huge number of orders for the C919, it's expected that the plane will fly more high-frequency routes. To achieve that goal, COMAC should build a high-quality, real-time and region-wide aviation technical support system so as to ensure the C919's smooth commercial operation," Wang remarked.
Wang said the commercial operation of the C919 will drive the rapid development of related products and services including aviation materials, design, marketing and after-sales services. The large aircraft project will contribute to the country's industry and technological upgrade, boost the industrialization of the civil aviation sector and compete in the global aviation manufacturing value chain.
Established in 2008, COMAC has developed airliners including the C919, C929 and regional airliner ARJ21, He was quoted by the Shanghai Observer as saying.
He said that the C929, a wide-body passenger jet still in its initial design stage, will be fitted with 250-350 seats with a flying distance of 12,000 kilometers.
As the country's first commercial regional airliner, the 112 ARJ21 planes are in service while the number of orders has reached 775, he said. The plane flies in China and abroad, being used for delivering cargo, business flights, emergency rescue and other purposes. The first overseas user is Indonesia, He said.
While developing the planes, COMAC blazed a trail in promoting product and technology innovations, He said, noting that the company has adopted new materials such as alloys and carbon fiber, integrated the latest-generation power system, and mastered software and hardware technologies with higher security levels.
He said that the company will continue to boost international cooperation. Faced with new challenges such as global aviation security and environmental protection, COMAC remains committed to independent innovation and open cooperation so as to handle challenges with suppliers across the world, he said.