Chinese-Made Passenger Jet Takes Off For Its First Test Flight

China Shanghai Pudong International Airport Boeing 737 Airbus 320

A Chinese-made C919 passenger jet takes off on its first flight at Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, Friday, May 5, 2017.

The C919 will seat 158 to 174 people, six abreast, and is meant to compete with the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 families of planes in the so-called single-aisle market. Final ground tests only concluded a few weeks ago, much later than the original schedule of a first flight in 2014, and aircraft delivery in 2016.

Single-aisle plane can carry up to 168 passengers and is meant to rival Airbus and Boeing aircraft.

Built by state owned company Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), it is a symbol of China's ambitions to be a player in global aviation.

The plane can come with 155-175 seats and has a standard flight length of 4,075 kilometers (2,530 miles).

The jet's development is a key step on the path laid out by Chinese leaders to transform the country into a creator of profitable technology.

Aviation analyst Tom Ballantyne said that Friday's flight represented a "huge moment" for China.

Even if the C919 ends up being a superior aircraft, it will still take years for many Western airlines to consider adding the type to their fleets, Royce noted. The State-owned Commercial Aircraft Corp of China, which manufactured the C919, has received 570 orders for the C919 from23 clients. Airbus and Boeing control around 42 percent of the market for new plane orders apiece, with other companies including Bombardier and Cessna.

Airbus has estimated Chinese airlines will need almost 6,000 new planes over the next two decades, while Boeing foresees 6,800 aircraft.

To pave the way for the jet to enter foreign market, China has already been in talks with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to obtain the airworthiness certification for the C919. Airbus had delivered 153 aircraft to Chinese operators last year, its seventh consecutive year of more than 100 deliveries, AirbusChina said earlier this year.

5,100: Boeing estimates that the country will need a trillion dollars worth of new airplanes over the next two decades, including more than 5,100 of the same size as the C919. Meanwhile, the second C919 is now being produced at Comac's plant in Pudong, and is expected to make its first test flight in the second half of this year.

COMCAR already has 570 orders from 23 clients but aviation website Airline Reporter points out that most-apart from 20 orders from GECAS, an aviation asset management service-are from other state-owned Chinese airlines and questions remain over whether the C919s will have global appeal.

China's first large jetliner has successfully completed its maiden flight, a key moment in the country's push to challenge the USA and Europe as a global manufacturer.

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