Debut flight of C919
China's first domestically produced large passenger plane, the C919, successfully completed its maiden flight on Friday. The flight was a crucial step toward earning its manufacturer, Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, a position alongside Airbus and Boeing as a major player in the large passenger aircraft industry.
In 2007, the State Council, China's Cabinet, approved the plan to develop a Chinese-built large passenger jet, and the government has since invested heavily in the project.
The twin-engine C919 is for medium-haul flights and it will compete with the Airbus 320 and the Boeing 737.
Till now COMAC has received 570 orders from 23 clients for the C919, including large domestic carriers such as Air China, China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, Hainan Airlines and Sichuan Airlines.
Observers said it is unrealistic to expect the C919 to shake the dominance of aviation giants Boeing and Airbus in the near future, but Chinese airliners could be an option for global carriers in decades to come.