China unveils its first passenger jet
By Zabihullah Moosakhail - Tue Nov 03 2015, 10:55 am
China has unveiled its first commercial passenger jet developed by the state-run Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, or Comac to compete with Boeing and Airbus, the lucrative commercial aircraft business dominators.
The single-aisle, twin-engine C919 ‘Made in China’ which can seat up to 168 passengers was shown to a large crowd of government dignitaries and other guests, about 4,000 in numbers, in a hangar at an assembly plant outside Shanghai, near Pudong International Airport on Monday.
“China’s air transport industry cannot completely rely on imports,” China’s civil aviation chief, Li Jiaxiang told the crowd.
“A great nation must have its own large commercial aircraft,” he is quoted by BBC as saying.
The passenger jet will undergo testing over the next year or so and won’t be ready for delivery until 2018.
China is one of the biggest aviation markets in the world but relies on Boeing and Airbus aircraft.
The manufacture of C919 is aimed at prevent some of the country’s commercial benefits going to other countries.
The first customers of C919 are expected to be Chinese airlines with the manufacturing company Comac saying it has received orders from 21 customers for a total of 517 aircraft, mostly from Chinese carriers but also from GE Capital Aviation Services.