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3 Apr, 2017

Chinese-made passenger jet ready for maiden flight, will compete with A320 and Boeing 737

SHANGHAI, 25 March 2017, (Xinhua) — China’s first large domestically designed and built passenger jetliner has passed a major technical assessment, bringing it a closer to its maiden flight, sources with the developer said Saturday.

An evaluation committee consisting 63 aviation specialists from across China has agreed the C919 is technically ready for its maiden flight, said the Shanghai-based aircraft maker, Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China (COMAC) in a press release.

The experts have worked in seven teams to assess the jet’s design, structure and performances, which they have tested in labs, on board and during low-speed taxiing, it said.

The committee has proven the C919 is technically airworthy but the jet is still subject to electromagnetic compatibility and taxiing tests before it takes to the air.

The jet was built in 2015 and COMAC completed the onboard systems installation as well as major static and system integration tests before the technical assessment.

The C919, with over 150 seats and a standard range of 4,075 kilometers, is expected to compete with the updated Airbus 320 and Boeing’s new-generation 737, which currently dominate the market.

By the end of 2016, 21 customers had placed orders for more than 500 C919 aircraft, and COMAC expects to sell at least 2,000.

China’s first regional commercial aircraft, the ARJ21, began commercial operation in June 2016.

Editor’s Comment

 Another fine example of how China is shaking up the global geopolitical and economic order.

Asian airlines are among the biggest buyers of these medium-range aircraft and will remain so well into the 21st century.

If the price-performance-safety formula proves perfect, this jet could prove to be a winner. No doubt China will also be happy to provide some heavy-duty subsidies and/or interesting financing packages to sweeten the deals for potential buyers.

Airbus has already awoken to the potential competitive threat by establishing a training centre in India and maintenance centre in Thailand