BEIJING (AP) — The first Chinese-made passenger plane made its first commercial flight on Sunday, as China strives to compete with giants such as Boeing and Airbus in the global aviation industry.
The C919 plane built by the China Commercial Aviation Corporation carried about 130 passengers on Sunday, according to the state-run China Daily. The plane took off from Shanghai Hongqiao Airport and landed less than two hours later in Beijing.
The maiden flight was part of the aviation corporation’s (COMAC) efforts to break into the single-aisle market, in a challenge to Airbus and Boeing. The Airbus A320 and Boeing B737 are the most popular models used on regional and domestic routes.
Although COMAC designed many of the C919’s parts, some of its key components, such as the engine, are still sourced in the West.
The company plans to build 150 C919 aircraft a year for the next five years, according to previous reports in the official media.
The C919, which has been in development for 16 years, has a maximum range of about 5,600 kilometers (3,500 miles) and is designed to carry between 158 and 168 passengers.
Some 1,200 C919 models have already been ordered, according to COMAC. China Eastern Airlines has signed the purchase of five of them.