Made-in-China passenger jet set to take wing

China is expected this week to conduct the maiden test flight of a home-grown passenger jet built to meet soaring domestic travel demand and challenge the dominance of Boeing and Airbus. The C919, built by state-owned aerospace manufacturer Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), was set to take wing over Shanghai on Friday, the company said on Wednesday, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. ‚??If weather conditions are not suitable, the maiden flight will be rescheduled,‚?? COMAC said, adding that engineers had completed some 118 tests. The narrow-body jet represents nearly a decade of effort in a state-mandated drive to reduce dependence on European consortium Airbus and US aerospace giant Boeing. ‚??The first flight itself is not a huge deal. [But] of course, it‚??s going to be a hugely symbolic moment in the evolution of China‚??s aviation industry,‚?? said Greg Waldron, Asia managing editor at industry publication Flightglobal. The C919 is the country‚??s first big passenger plane and the latest sign of growing Chinese ambition and technical skill, coming one week after China launched its first domestically made aircraft carrier and docked a cargo spacecraft with an orbiting space lab. The C919 can seat 168 passengers and has a range of 5,555 kilometres. After the C919‚??s first flight, it will need to pass tests to obtain Chinese airworthiness certification before it can be sold. Courtesy: GulfNews.com

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