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Eastern Air Lines plans to fly Chinese C919 passenger jet

Model of the COMAC C919

Eastern Air Lines has announced plans at the China Airshow 2012 to be the first U.S. airline to fly Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC)’s C919. Eastern Air Lines went bankrupt in 1991 but the company is reportedly shopping for aircraft. Jack Shi, senior vice president for commercial development of Eastern Air Lines, told a news conference that revival of the airline has been in the works since 2008 and its planning to begin flying from Miami to Latin American next year. Shi said, “We are still a young company. The startup investment has not been finalised yet.”

Orders for the COMAC C919 passenger jet dominated the first day of the China Airshow, with 50 new orders. The C919 is designed to challenge Airbus and Boeing in the largest segment of the $100 billion annual jetliner market.

Tuesday’s orders for the 150-seat jet boosted the official tally to 380. According to COMAC, Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair and British Airways have also expressed an interest in the aircraft.

The first flight of COMAC’s C919 is expected to take place in 2014, with deliveries scheduled for 2016.