China's homegrown large passenger plane C919 takes off from Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, East China, Nov 10, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]
The C919, China's first home-developed large passenger plane, gained another 55 orders on Tuesday from ICBC Leasing Co Ltd, China's largest aircraft leasing company by assets, lifting its total orders to 785.
Commercial Aircraft Corp of China Ltd, the manufacturer of the C919, signed an agreement with ICBC Leasing in Beijing. So far, C919 has netted orders from 27 Chinese and overseas customers.
Back in 2011, ICBC Leasing, a subsidiary of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, ordered 45 C919 aircraft. The latest deal makes the leasing company the single largest C919 customer with an order of 100 planes.
As of October, ICBC Leasing managed total capital worth 300 billion yuan ($45 billion) and 555 aircraft, in addition to a large number of shipping assets and large-scale equipment.
In November, the C919 passenger jet completed its first long-haul flight from Shanghai to Xi'an, Shaanxi province, and it will now start a series of test flights at the testing base in Yanliang, Shaanxi province.
Last week, the second C919 test aircraft completed its first taxiing test at Shanghai Pudong International Airport, and it is expected to conduct its debut flight by the end of the year.
Lin Zhijie, an aviation industry analyst and columnist at Carnoc.com, one of China's largest civil aviation web portals, said the C919's entry to the market won't occur very soon. It is expected to go into operation between 2020 and 2022.