Chinese passenger jet's debut nears
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.