(Yusho Cho – Nikkei Asian Review)
A midsize passenger plane developed by China as a national project made its successful maiden flight on Friday after long delays, paving the way for its developer’s attempt to break into the international market.
The C919, developed and produced by Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China, or COMAC, was initially planned to be completed in 2012, with the first delivery in 2016. Despite the delay, COMAC is set to challenge market leaders Boeing and Airbus in the future, with the new plane priced 40% to 50% lower than the American and European makers’ equivalent models.
The first trial model of the C919 took off from Shanghai Pudong International Airport shortly after 2 p.m. on Friday. The maiden flight was broadcast by the state-run China Central Television, stressing that the development of the C919 is a key national project, comparable with the completion of China’s first aircraft carrier, launched in April, and the refueling of a Chinese space laboratory by the Tianzhou 1 supply ship the same month. Click here to read more.