China’s homemade plane makes maiden flight
China’s first domestically produced passenger jet has taken off on its maiden commercial flight.
Its first commercial flight from Shanghai to Beijing, with more than 130 passengers, was completed in just under three hours. The aircraft is scheduled to fly back to the coastal city.
State TV showed the C919 rising into the skies above Shanghai, heading to the capital Beijing early on Sunday.
It was built by the Commercial Aviation Corporation of China (Comac) in the hope of breaking the dominance of Airbus and Boeing’s single-aisle jets. But the 164-seater still relies heavily on Western components, including engines and avionics.
State-backed China Eastern Airline has ordered five planes.
Comac, which plans to produce 150 planes annually in five years’ time, says it has already secured more than 1,200 orders for the C919.
Some experts, however, say that most of these orders are believed to be letters of intent from domestic customers.
President Xi Jinping, who sat in the cockpit of a mock-up C919 a few years ago, has described the project as one of China’s most innovative achievements.