(MENAFN) China has achieved a significant milestone in its ambition to compete with industry giants like Boeing and Airbus in the global aircraft market. The country's first domestically produced passenger jet, the C919, successfully completed its inaugural commercial flight on Sunday. Operated by state-owned China Eastern Airlines, the flight carried approximately 130 passengers, taking off from Shanghai Hongqiao Airport and landing in Beijing in under two hours.
The C919, developed by the Commercial Aviation Corporation of China (COMAC), marks China's entry into the single-aisle jet market, directly challenging the popular Airbus A320 and Boeing B737 aircraft that dominate domestic and regional flights. The significance of the moment was highlighted by the bold words, "The World's First C919," emblazoned on the side of the plane during its maiden voyage.
While COMAC has designed many of the C919's components, it still relies on Western sources for some crucial parts, including the engine. However, the successful debut flight signals China's growing capabilities in manufacturing advanced aircraft and its determination to reduce reliance on foreign suppliers.
According to reports from state media, COMAC has ambitious plans to manufacture 150 C919 planes annually for the next five years. The company has already received over 1,200 orders for the C919 jetliner, with China Eastern Airlines committed to purchasing five of them.
The C919, which has been in development for an impressive 16 years, boasts a maximum range of approximately 3,500 miles and is designed to accommodate between 158 and 168 passengers. With its competitive features and a strong order book, China is positioning itself as a formidable player in the global aviation industry.
The successful maiden commercial flight of the C919 represents a significant step forward for China's aviation ambitions. It underscores the nation's commitment to becoming a major player in the aerospace sector, challenging the long-standing duopoly of Airbus and Boeing. As China continues to advance its domestic aerospace capabilities, the global market is poised to witness intensified competition and increased innovation in the years to come.
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