8 MAY 2017
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In one of two developments last week involving potential challengers to the B737 and A320, China’s first domestically-built large passenger jet, the C919, completed its maiden flight on Friday from Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport.
The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac) unveiled the twin-engine airliner 18 months ago at a roll-out ceremony in Shanghai (BTN 9 November 2015). It can carry up to 158 passengers and fly up to 4,075km, or 5,555km in its longer-range version.
Chinese media has been reporting that Comac has received 570 orders from 23 foreign and domestic customers, though most are from local carriers.
Observers have also noted though the C919 is regarded as Chinese aircraft, many components are made in the US, France, and Germany, including the engines, designed by US-French company CFM International.
Before China’s C919, only the US, Russia, Brazil, Canada, the UK, France, and Germany had developed large home-grown airliners, with China’s experience limited to a four-engine narrow-body jet airliner known as the Y-10.
Airbus’ 2016-2035 Global Market Forecast says Chinese airlines will need about 6,000 new jets worth $945bn over the next two decades, reflecting projections that China will overtake the US by 2030 as the world’s largest commercial aviation market.
(See also Russia’s MC-21 in this issue).
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