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China’s answer to Boeing and Airbus’s domination of the aviation business, a 158-seat passenger jet dubbed C919, is due to make its maiden flight later this week.
According to Xinhua, the first flight of the C919, assembled by state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac), will be conducted at the Shanghai International Airport on Friday, but could be delayed if weather conditions are not suitable. The timing for the first flight was set after the passenger jet passed a thorough assessment in April.
A successful maiden flight, followed by a series of safety certification processes, could open a floodgate for new orders for the single-aisle passenger jet, likely to generate 1 trillion yuan (HK$1.13 trillion) in business for Comac, according to Galaxy Securities. The C919 has received 570 orders and commitments from 23 customers, mainly Chinese state-owned carriers and leasing companies.
The plane is three years behind schedule. And while much of it is Chinese-made, a considerable percentage of major parts are produced by U.S. and European manufacturers.