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HomeBusiness NewsChina's first home-made passenger plane takes to the skies for its maiden...

China’s first home-made passenger plane takes to the skies for its maiden flight

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China’s first domestically built passenger plane completed its maiden flight on Friday.
The narrow-body, twin-engine C919 successfully took off from Shanghai Pudong International Airport at 2pm local time (7am BST) amid much fanfare.
The single-aisle aircraft has been billed as China’s answer to the Boeing 737 and Airbus 320 as the nation aims to take on western airlines.
The C919 flight is Beijing’s first step toward independence from Boeing and Airbus as it attempts to replace all 6,000-6,800 of its western aircraft at a cost of around $1 trillion.
China is a massive battleground for Boeing and Airbus, with the country’s travel market expected to surpass the United States by 2024, according to the International Air Transport Association.
Both companies congratulated COMAC on the flight.
But aviation experts have warned that getting the craft from test flight to mass production is likely to be difficult.
They have questioned how much value China will get from the billions of dollars it has spent developing the craft because the C919 may not obtain the European and US certification needed to fly in most international markets.
C919’s maiden flight lasted an hour and 20 minutes.
Sporting white, green and blue livery, the single-aisle aircraft reached 10,000 feet with a maximum speed of 170 knots (196 miles per hour or 315 kph).
Chinese media, including state broadcaster CCTV and news portal Sina, broadcast C919’s first flight live online.
The aircraft had no passenger seats installed. Instead, it carried ‘a large number of devices’ to collect 44,000 data points during the maiden flight, according to Huanqiu.com, an affiliation to People’s Daily.
A five-member team operated the C919 during the first flight, including two pilots, one observer and two engineers, said Huanqiu.
The made-in-China airliner is built by Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC), a Chinese state-owned aviation manufacturer based in Shanghai.
But the company sourced many of the C919’s most important parts from European and US companies such as GE, Safran and Honeywell.
The airliner, which has taken 11 years to develop, can fit 158 to 168 seats.
In comparison, different models of Boeing 737 can seat 85 to 215 passengers; while an A320 can accommodate 100 to 240 people.The single-aisle aircraft has been billed as China's answer to Boeing 737 and Airbus 320 as the nation aims to raise its profile in the global aviation market. A view from inside the cockpit of China's new COMAC C919 aircraft
A symbol of China’s ambitions to muscle into the global jet market, the C919 is estimated to be worth £1.5 trillion ($1.95 trillion) over the next two decades, reported Reuters.
‘The significance is huge, it’s the first ever large-frame aircraft made in China,’ Xiong Yuexi, a plane design expert at Beihang University in Beijing told Reuters ahead of the launch.
‘It has a great impact for the Chinese people and the domestic market.’
COMAC has built one C919 so far and is in the process of assembling the second and third.
The company has received 570 orders for the aircraft from 23 domestic and overseas clients, said state newspaper People’s Daily.

(C) dailymail.co.uk

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