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First China Eastern Comac C919 returns to flying after unexplained absence

First Chinese single-aisle Comac C919 inches closer to service with China Eastern as the country bolsters its aircraft development ecosystem.

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Release Date
May 17, 2023
First China Eastern Comac C919 returns to flying after unexplained absence

After a nearly three-month hiatus from flying, the first delivered Comac C919 returned to the sky on May 17, signaling the Chinese narrowbody is again inching closer to its entry-into-service with China Eastern Airlines. The 164-seat production jet bearing registration B-919A has been noticeably absent since late March, raising speculation among Comac watchers that faults were identified during the airline’s 100-hour proving flight program. 

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Launch airline China Eastern’s tentative February 28 entry-into-service date never materialized. On January 29, the airline switched its schedule to Airbus A320 service on the Shanghai Hongqiao to Beijing Capital route for which the C919 was supposed to debut as Flight 9191. 

After regularly operating as part of its route proving, the aircraft appeared to change tempo on February 2. The aircraft flew a half dozen more short flights before February 27 then sat for nearly a month before being ferried from Hongqiao to nearby Pudong on March 23 when it was last seen. There’s been no definitive explanation for the jet’s return to the manufacturer. 

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