Date
29 May 2017
The C919 jet underscores China's ambitions in the global commercial aviation market. Photo: Reuters
The C919 jet underscores China's ambitions in the global commercial aviation market. Photo: Reuters

China’s first big passenger jet set for maiden flight

China’s first big commercial jetliner is expected to launch its maiden test flight on Friday, marking a technology milestone for the country and heralding a potential new player in the global aviation market.

The C919 jet, made by state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, will take to the skies at the Shanghai Pudong International Airport.

The home-grown aircraft is part of Beijing’s efforts to have Chinese products replace foreign equivalents in an array of businesses.

Conceived in 2008, China wants the C919 to eventually take market share from Boeing and Airbus in the lucrative narrow-body market which accounts for more than 50 percent of the aircraft in service worldwide, Reuters reports.

The jet has seen its test flight pushed back at least twice since 2014 due to production issues.

The production delays mean the C919 will lag technologically behind improved versions of the A320 and 737 which will enter service in the next two years, analysts were quoted as saying.

The Chinese jet could face a lengthy journey from first flight to commercial usage.

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