Published: Thu, May 18, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Comac C919 lands after uneventful maiden sortie

Comac C919 lands after uneventful maiden sortie

The first large made-in-China passenger plane successfully completed its maiden test flight, marking a key milestone on the country's ambitious journey to compete with the world's leading aircraft makers.

While the C919 is part of China's goal to break into the Western-dominated global aviation industry, USA experts believe the new Chinese-made passenger planes pose no threat to companies like Boeing and Airbus.

The first C919 passenger jet made by the Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (Comac) is pulled out during a news conference at the company's factory in Shanghai.

When the much-delayed C919 program was launched in 2008, the maiden flight was originally scheduled for 2014 followed by first delivery to Chengdu Airlines.

'With a standard range of 4,075 km, the narrow-body jet is comparable with updated Airbus 320 and Boeing's new generation 737, ' declares Chinese state media.

Comac's C919 narrowbody airliner made its debut flight from China's Shanghai Pudong International Airport on Friday, ending a year-and-a-half wait since its factory rollout in November 2015.

The single-aisle plane is created to carry between 155 and 175 seats, and fly 2,530 miles (4,075 km).

COMAC had already received 570 orders by the end of previous year, nearly all from domestic airlines.

Comac has applied for Type Certification for the C919 from both the Civil Aviation Administration of China and the European Aviation Safety Agency.

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THE second C919 narrow-body aircraft will roll off the assembly line this year for further test flying, officials announced today.

Some 40 domestic and global flights were canceled and over 30 others were delayed at the Pudong airport to give way to the test flying around 2pm.

Beijing is also already looking beyond the C919, with plans to develop a wide-body long-haul jet with Russian Federation.

But Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst at Teal Group, told Bloomberg News that China may have to wait till its next aircraft to really break the duopoly for jets that can carry more than 100 passengers.

Comac says more than 200 Chinese companies and 36 universities have been involved in the research and development of the aircraft.

Although COMA's ARJ21 small passenger plane entered domestic service in 2016, the company did not enter the broad global aircraft market.

China first gave the world a glimpse of C919 in an aircraft show in Zhuhai in 2010. Neither Boeing nor Airbus has ever provided a live view of the cockpit on a first flight.

Most of the large components of the C919 are manufactured by Aviation Industry Corporation of China.

But it also relies on foreign-made technology for critical systems, including its engines, which are made by CFM International, a joint venture between General Electric's aviation subsidiary and France's Safran Aircraft Engines.

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