1st large Chinese-made passenger jet takes its maiden flight

The C919, which manufacturers hope will rival the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737, took off from Shanghai Pudong airport to applause from hundreds of assembled guests.

Commentators are divided on the potential for the plane, but some argue it could pose a major threat to the current Boeing/Airbus duopoly in large commercial aircraft.

State media burst with pride and patriotism as the plane's debut flight from Pudong International Airport in Shanghai was broadcast live, reporting that around 3,000 officials, executives and other onlookers clapped "ecstatically" as the plane landed, carrying a skeleton crew of five pilots and engineers.

"Using a number of existing advantages, including the possibility of some price reduction due to its own very large domestic market and the attraction of cheap credit resources from Chinese state-owned banks, China will be able to compete seriously with American and European producers and catch up with them", Kashin said.

The single-aisle, 168-seat aircraft is being cast as China's answer to the Boeing 737 and the Airbus 320.

The jet's development is a key step on the path laid out by Chinese leaders to transform the country into a creator of profitable technology.

The white, green and blue aircraft, with "C919" emblazoned on its tail, sped along the tarmac at Shanghai's worldwide airport and lifted off under overcast skies in front of thousands of dignitaries, aviation workers and enthusiasts.

It is a great achievement made under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, said the letter.

Airbus also "welcomes" the competition brought by the C919 "which is good for the development of the industry", said Amelia Xu, spokeswoman for Airbus China.

The Bloomberg report said Boeing predicted late a year ago that China will require over 6,800 aircraft valued at more than $1 trillion through 2035.


The C919 aircraft is the first large civil jet aircraft developed by China. But the project was later abandoned.

The state company formed a 50:50 partnership past year with Russian counterpart United Aircraft Corp to develop a longer-haul passenger plane, with the companies earmarking a maiden flight in 2022, with deliveries beginning as early as 2025. "The first aircraft rolled out on November 2nd, 2015". More than 200,000 technicians worked on the project.

The jet was designed and produced in China and made with resources from around the world. It is an achievement in global cooperation, said Wu.

But the wider aviation industry won't feel competitive pressure, as the C919 includes parts from many established aviation companies, including CFM's Leap engines.

(COMAC) launched the first flight of its C919 narrowbody May 5.

But Gao sees China's "rapid growth in the foreseeable 20 years".

The flight lasted one hour and 19 minutes, with the aircraft touching down at 15.19 local time.

Shaking the dominance of giants Boeing and Airbus in the near future is unrealistic, observers say, but the Chinese jetliner could be a strong option for global carriers in decades to come.

COMCAR already has 570 orders from 23 clients but aviation website Airline Reporter points out that most-apart from 20 orders from GECAS, an aviation asset management service-are from other state-owned Chinese airlines and questions remain over whether the C919s will have worldwide appeal.

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