China starts building new passenger jet

A main fuselage section of the C919 arrives in Shanghai
A main fuselage section of the C919 arrives in Shanghai

Assembly work has started on the first ever COMAC C919 aircraft – a new Chinese-made passenger aircraft that is intended to rival the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320.

The first sections of the 150-seat narrow-body aircraft’s fuselage were joined together at COMAC’s Shanghai assembly line last week, following the delivery of nose, front and middle fuselage, wings and tail sections from plants in Chengdu, Shenyang and Harbin.

The aircraft is expected to make its maiden flight at the end of next year, with customer deliveries expected to start in 2018. COMAC has so far taken orders for approximately 400 C919s, mainly from Chinese airlines.

Between them, Air China, China Eastern, China Southern and Hainan Airlines have agreed to buy 80 jets.

China has previously built short-range turboprop aircraft such as the MA-60, but the C919 marks its first major commercial jet aircraft.

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