China’s first domestically produced passenger jet has made its first commercial flight as China seeks to compete with industry giants such as Boeing and Airbus in the global aircraft market.
BEIJING — China’s first domestically produced passenger plane made its first commercial flight on Sunday as China seeks to compete with industry giants such as Boeing and Airbus in the global aircraft market.
The C919, built by the Commercial Aviation Corporation of China, was carrying about 130 passengers on the flight, the state-run China Daily newspaper reported. The plane took off from Shanghai Hongqiao Airport on Sunday morning and landed in Beijing less than two hours later.
The flight was carried out by the state-owned China Eastern Airlines, and “World’s first C919” was written on the side of the plane.
The inaugural flight comes as COMAC tries to break into the single-aisle market, directly challenging Airbus and Boeing. Airbus’s A320 and Boeing’s B737 are the most popular aircraft commonly used for domestic and regional flights.
Although COMAC designed many parts of the C919, its main components are still sourced from the West, including the engine.
The company plans to build 150 C919 aircraft each year for the next five years, according to earlier state media reports.
The C919, which has been in development for 16 years, has a maximum range of about 3,500 miles and is designed to carry 158 to 168 passengers.
More than 1,200 C919s have been ordered, COMAC says, with five of them under contract with China Eastern Airlines.