China Eastern Airlines signs purchase 5 C919 aircraft.

China Eastern Airlines, the launch customer for the Chinese-made C919 aircraft, signed a firm order Monday to purchase five of the narrow-body aircraft, the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) said.

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The company, which signed a letter of intent with COMAC in 2010, is expected to take delivery of the first C919 aircraft this year, once they are certified by China’s aviation regulator.

The C919, which will compete with the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320, is seen as a symbol of China’s civil aerospace ambition.

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Without disclosing the value of the deal, COMAC said in a statement that the aircraft would be based at China Eastern’s Shanghai headquarters and would be used on routes to Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Wuhan and among others.

COMAC’s C919 aircraft has received 815 tentative orders, but very few from airlines or leasing companies outside China.

Photo: Shimin Gu/Wikimedia

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