On Sunday, China’s first domestically made passenger plane made its inaugural flight, a staggering 15 years after it first entered its development. So what caused this delay, and how does it stand compared to aviation giants such as Boeing and Airbus?

The C919’s design is very similar to the Airbus A320, starring a 3.96m wide, 4.166m tall and 39m long fuselage, paired with a 33.6m wing span. Being a narrow-body airliner, it has an intended payload capacity of 20.4 tonnes.

The aircraft has clearly been a hit amongst airlines across the globe, as it has amassed over 1200 orders as of January 2023. Air China, AerCap and Hainan Airlines are some of the airlines that have placed orders for this aircraft. The first aircraft was delivered in December

 2022, with the plane’s maiden commercial flight occurring on the 28th of May.

Comac was formed in 2008 with the specific purpose to create a competitive narrow-body airline, and 15 years onwards, it finally became commercial. Reasons for the long wait include a military blacklist from the USA in 2020, and delays in the development in 2013 and 2015.

The C919’s production will be ramped up in the next few years to complete long-awaited orders, so it is likely in the near future C919’s will be a common occurrence at large airports and in the skies.

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