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Chinese passenger jet's debut nears

A China-built C919 passenger jet takes off on its second test flight at Pudong International Airport in September 2017. (Reuters File Photo)

A Chinese rival to the Boeing 737 Max and Airbus A320neo narrow-body aircraft has completed its first pre-delivery test flight, according to a report by China Central Television.

The C919 jet developed by Commercial Aircraft Corp of China Ltd (Comac) was test flown for about three hours on Saturday ahead of its delivery to its first customer soon, the report said.

The narrow-body plane is priced at US$99 million, according to a filing this week by Shanghai-based China Eastern Airline, which has signed a deal to buy five of the passenger jets.

The pre-service test flight brings China’s homegrown passenger jet maker a step closer to challenging the duopoly of Boeing and Airbus in the global commercial aircraft market.

Comac started development of the C919 in 2008, but missed the previous deadline of delivering its first plane by the end of 2021. 

Plane production has also been dogged by certification problems as tough US export rules have delayed the shipment of certain spare parts.

While the C919 marks China’s effort to reduce reliance on Airbus and Boeing, the aircraft still depends on foreign companies like General Electric for many critical parts. 

Plane production has been dogged by certification woes as tough US export rules have delayed the shipment of spare parts.

China Eastern said earlier this week that it expected to take delivery of 38 airplanes between 2022 and 2024, of which five would be C919 models.

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Dive Deeper:
China test flies first home-grown C919 jet to be delivered - Xinhua
China on Saturday completed a test flight of the country's first C919 jetliner to be delivered, the official Xinhua news…
Moment Chinese passenger plane bursts into flames during takeoff
More than 40 passengers with minor injuries were taken to hospital, according to reports
Chinese plane catches fire at airport, all passengers evacuated
BEIJING: A Chinese passenger plane veered off a runway during takeoff and caught fire at an airport in the city…
Qantas revives plan for world’s longest direct flights
Qantas Airways Ltd. revived a plan to start direct flights connecting Australia’s east coast with New York and London as…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Wizz Air flight returns to airport after being hit by lightning
‘I didn’t see any fire. It was just lightning and a bang. It was so loud’ one passenger told reporters
Passengers injured as plane leaves runway in western China
Several people were injured when a Chinese passenger jet left the runway upon takeoff and caught fire in western China
Get all your news in one place