A Look At Where China Eastern Airlines Is Flying The COMAC C919 In 2024

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Summary

  • China Eastern Airlines received its 5th C919 aircraft and launched 3 regular routes by March 2024.
  • The airline signed a new order for 100 C919 aircraft from COMAC with deliveries planned until 2031.
  • More routes and aircraft are expected for China Eastern Airlines in the coming years with the C919 fleet growth.

As the launch customer of COMAC’s C919, China Eastern Airlines received its fifth C919 aircraft earlier this month (March 2nd). Six days after receiving this aircraft, China Eastern Airlines launched its third regular commercial route operated by the C919 aircraft, flying between Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (SHA) and Xi’an Xianyang International Airport (XIY).

On March 8th, all five C919 aircraft of China Eastern Airlines operated important hub routes within China. Departing from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (SHA), these flights not only included round trips to Xi’an Xianyang International Airport (XIY) but also various flights to and from Chengdu Tianfu International Airport (TFU) and Beijing Daxing International Airport (PKX).

China Eastern Airlines' current 3 C919 routes

Photo: Su Wu | Simple Flying

China Eastern Airlines’ C919 Fleet

As early as March 1st, 2021, China Eastern Airlines signed a purchase contract for five C919 aircraft with COMAC, becoming the launch user of China’s domestically-developed large civil aircraft.

Eighteen months after the signing, on December 9th, 2022, China Eastern Airlines received its first C919 aircraft, also the first globally delivered C919 aircraft. Subsequently, on July 14th, 2023, December 9th, 2023, January 2nd, 2024, and March 2nd, 2024, it received four more C919 aircraft, bringing the current C919 fleet size to 5 aircraft and fulfilling the first purchase contract.

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During this period, on September 28th, 2023, China Eastern Airlines signed a second purchase agreement with COMAC, adding another order of 100 C919 large passenger aircraft on top of the initial 5. This order represents the largest C919 order COMAC has received to date.

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China Eastern Signs Agreement To Buy 100 COMAC C919s

The order marks the largest for the type and adds to China Eastern Airline’s existing order of five.

According to information released by China Eastern Airlines, the newly signed order for 100 C919 aircraft will be delivered in batches from 2024 to 2031. Among them, 5 aircraft are planned for delivery in 2024, 10 aircraft per year from 2025 to 2027, 15 aircraft per year from 2028 to 2030, and 20 aircraft in 2031.

Year

The expected number of C919 aircraft to be received each year

The fleet size of China Eastern Airlines’ C919

2024

7 (two have been received until March 2nd, but they belong to the receiving tasks of 2023)

10

2025

10

20

2026

10

30

2027

10

40

2028

15

55

2029

15

70

2030

15

85

2031

20

105

China Eastern Airlines’ C919 Routes

After receiving the first C919 large passenger aircraft on December 9th, 2022, China Eastern Airlines completed the first commercial flight of the C919, the round-trip flight from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (SHA) to Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK), on May 28th, 2023, after more than half a year of preparation.

In comparison to the symbolic significance of the inaugural flight, starting from the next day (May 29th), China Eastern Airlines deployed the first C919 (B-919A) on the Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (SHA) to Chengdu Tianfu International Airport (TFU) route, initiating regular commercial operations.

China Eastern C919 B-919A

Photo: China Eastern Airlines

After receiving the second C919 (B-919C) in July 2023, China Eastern Airlines commenced dual-aircraft operations on the Shanghai to Chengdu route on August 4th, 2023, resulting in a 57% increase in the number of flights and available seats on the Shanghai-Chengdu route.

Upon receiving the fourth C919 (B-919E) in January 2024, China Eastern Airlines opened the commercial flight route between Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (SHA) and Beijing Daxing International Airport (PKX) on January 9th, 2024, marking the second regular commercial route for China Eastern’s C919.

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China Eastern Introduces COMAC C919 On Beijing-Shanghai Flights

China Eastern Airlines is deploying the C919 aircraft on China’s busiest air routes.

Upon receiving the fifth C919 (B-919F) in March 2024, as shown in Cirium, China Eastern Airlines opened the commercial flight route between Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (SHA) and Xi’an Xianyang International Airport (XIY) on January 9th, 2024, marking the third regular commercial route for China Eastern’s C919.

According to data from Cirium, in January 2024, with four C919 aircraft simultaneously in operation, China Eastern Airlines operated a total of 268 flights, providing 43,416 seats and 41,664,044 available seat miles (ASMs). The data for February shows 230 flights, 37,260 seats, and 34,016,436 ASMs. In March, due to the addition of flights from Shanghai to Xi’an, the number of flights increased to 366.

Similarly, according to data from Cirium, from April to October 2024, China Eastern Airlines will continue to operate on routes from Shanghai to Chengdu and from Shanghai to Beijing Daxing, while ceasing operations on the Shanghai to Xi’an route. The number of flights will also be approximately equal to the levels in January and February. This data does not take into account foreseeable fleet growth. And it is highly likely that C919 aircraft will continue to operate on the Shanghai to Xi’an route after April.

China Eastern's second COMAC C919 aircraft.

Photo: COMAC

C919 Future New Routes

For China Eastern Airlines, the two C919 aircraft received in January and March of this year are part of the first purchase agreement. As mentioned earlier, China Eastern Airlines signed a new contract with COMAC last year for 100 C919 aircraft. Therefore, the next C919 aircraft to be received by China Eastern Airlines will be the first aircraft under the new contract, marking the beginning of a new chapter in China Eastern Airlines’ rapid acquisition of C919 aircraft.

Related


China Eastern Introduces COMAC C919 On Beijing-Shanghai Flights

China Eastern Airlines is deploying the C919 aircraft on China’s busiest air routes.

According to the terms of the new contract, China Eastern Airlines will receive five C919 aircraft in the remaining nine months of this year. Starting from next year, for three consecutive years, China Eastern Airlines will need to receive 10 C919 aircraft each year. This means that starting from this year, receiving one C919 aircraft every one to two months will become the norm for China Eastern Airlines.

Corresponding to the continuous receipt of new aircraft, it is foreseeable that China Eastern Airlines will also continuously open up new routes for the C919. It is also foreseeable that the C919 will appear on routes to other medium and small-sized airports. China Eastern Airlines may also establish a second C919 base in addition to Hongqiao Airport. Furthermore, in the near future, the C919 may appear on international routes operated by China Eastern Airlines.

As C919 aircraft have increasingly become a common sight on routes in the foreseeable future, would you be willing to fly aboard a C919? Please share your opinion with Simple Flying.



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