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Updated 4:59 PM EDT, Fri, Oct 11, 2019

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China Eastern Airlines in Talks to Order COMAC's C919 Aircraft

China's First Self-developed Large Passenger Jetliner C919 Rolls Off Production Line

(Photo : Getty Images) China's first self-developed large passenger jetliner C919 is presented after it rolled off the production line at Shanghai Aircraft Manufacturing Co., Ltd on November 2, 2015 in Shanghai, China.

China Eastern Airlines Corp. will be Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC)'s first customer to take delivery of the home-made C919 single-aisle passenger aircraft, which is scheduled to make its first test flight later this year or early next year, COMAC announced on Tuesday.

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COMAC said that it is in talks with China Eastern about firming up the Shanghai-based carrier's plan to buy five of the single-aisle jets within a year after the first test flight, according to Reuters. China Eastern has signed commitments for 20 C919 aircraft with COMAC in 2010.

Other than China Eastern, COMAC has also secured firm commitments for 23 C919 aircraft from two Chinese lessors during the first day of Airshow China, the Financial Express reported.

CITCI Financial Leasing has ordered 18 units, with a letter of intent for 18 more of the type, according to the Flight Global. Shanghai Pudong Development Bank also signed a purchase agreement to get five C919s, with a letter of intent for an additional 15 more.

COMAC also announced orders and commitment from 23 more customers for about 570 aircraft, including Air China and China Southern Airlines, the South China Moring Post reported citing Yang Yang, COMAC's director of marketing research center.

COMAC's C919, which was unveiled in November last year, features a narrow-body, twin-engine aircraft that could compete head-to-head with the Airbus 320 and Boeing 737 series. It has the capacity of 159 to 174 passengers and a flying range of up to 5,555 kilometers, making it suitable both for business and vacation routes.

Aside from the C919, COMAC also produces a 78-seat regional jet called ARJ21, which will compete with Bombardier Inc. and Embraer SA aircraft. It is equipped with General Electric Co. engines, sporting a maximum range of 2,225 kilometers (1,400 miles) for its standard model.

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