China Eastern Airlines (CIAH) (CEA) is expecting fewer COMAC C919 narrow-body aircraft deliveries than previously planned.
The carrier now expects to take delivery of just one COMAC C919 aircraft by the end of 2022, down from the three previously forecast, according to its half-year report for 2022. The remaining four C919s are expected to be delivered in 2023.
China Eastern ordered a total of five COMAC C919 single-aisle jets in 2021, becoming the launch customer of the type.
The C919 aircraft is a narrowbody developed by Chinese aircraft manufacturer COMAC. This news comes as the manufacturer awaits local certification of its newest commercial jet.
The first C919 was rolled out in 2015. The C919 was initially supposed to enter commercial service in 2016, but it was delayed multiple times due to technical difficulties and supply issues.
The narrowbody, destined to compete against the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX, made its first test flight in 2017. A total of six C919s have conducted test flights since 2019. After 14 years of development, COMAC aims for local certification of the aircraft in 2022.
The C919 has a range of 4,075 to 5,555 kilometers, and a capability to accommodate up to 168 passengers. COMAC data currently shows that a total of 815 C919 provisional orders have been obtained from 28 customers.
The news comes two months after China Eastern signed for 100 Airbus A320neo aircraft. The new order was seen as a big win for the European manufacturer against Boeing, which is still awaiting recertification of its Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in the country.
According to Planespotter.net data, China Eastern Airlines (CIAH) (CEA) has a total of 150 Boeing 737s, including three Boeing 737 MAXs.