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C919 set for debut flight in 2015, gets 400 orders
Date: 2014-5-22 Click: 2523

Commercial Aircraft Corp of China said the country's first large commercial passenger jet, the C919, will make its maiden flight late next year, with deliveries scheduled for 2018.

Chinese jumbo jet C919 delays maiden flight [Photo / Xinhua]

Chinese jumbo jet C919 delays maiden flight until 2015. [Xinhua] 

Earlier media reports said the maiden flight would occur by the end of this year and deliveries would start in 2016.

Tian Min, chief financial officer of Commercial Aircraft, or Comac, said yesterday's announcement didn't indicate a delay in the project. He said the company always has said that a maiden flight would occur 90 months after the project was launched in 2008.

The Shanghai-based company also said yesterday that it plans to build a bigger wide-body plane with a Russian partner that can fly intercontinental flights.

The single-aisle C919 jet is China's major effort to enter the global aircraft market dominated by Boeing and Airbus. It comes as travel demand keeps rising. China alone will need 5,580 commercial aircraft over the next 20 years, Boeing forecast last year.

"We want to develop our business in the domestic market first, and then gradually move into the international market," Tian said in Shanghai.

The narrow-body C919 will be the largest airliner designed and built in China since the now defunct Y-10, which never flew commercially and was later dropped from development in the 1980s because of economic and political factors. Last week, the first front fuselage of a C919 was delivered by a supplier in Jiangxi Province.

COMAC has secured 400 orders for the C919 from 16 customers, including US-based GE Capital Aviation Services and Irish budget carrier Ryanair. Tian declined to disclose prices for the C919 but said it would be competitive with rival models, such as the Airbus A320 and the Boeing 737.

The C919 can seat up to 168 people, with a flying range of up to 5,555 kilometers. That range means it cannot fly on popular routes such as those to the US and Western Europe

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