China’s new passenger jet takes to the skies

China aviation industry took a major step forward today, when the country’s new domestically-made passenger aircraft, the COMAC C919, made its maiden flight.

The single-aisle jet took off from Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport for a test flight which lasted about an hour. The flight appeared to run smoothly.

With a capacity of up to 174 seats, the C919 is billed as being China’s answer to the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 – the Western-built single-aisle jets that dominate the short- and medium-haul markets.

To date, COMAC has sold more than 200 C919s, mostly to Chinese airlines and leasing companies. Air China, China Southern, China Eastern and Hainan Airlines have each committed to 20 C919s.

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