Make sure to keep your eyes to the sky because China’s answer to the Boeing 737 and the Airbus 320 is set to take flight for the first time later this week on May 5th.
The C919, manufactured by the state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), is China’s first-ever domestically-built large passenger jet. The plane is more than a decade in the making and was first unveiled to much fanfare back in November 2015.
The single-aisle, 168-seat aircraft is scheduled to depart from our very own Shanghai Pudong International Airport on Friday as long as the weather conditions are favorable, according to a COMAC spokesperson.
Last year, COMAC told the media that it had already received 570 orders for the C919 from 23 customers. Of course, the majority of the orders were from government-run companies like Air China, China Southern and China Eastern Airlines. Meanwhile, 10% of orders have come from overseas from airlines in Africa, Germany and Thailand.
The hope is that someday the aircraft can become internationally competitive with the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320. Back in 2015, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker told CNBC that he would have “no hesitation at all in buying Chinese airplanes,” as long as they were made to the standard that he wanted.
“There is nothing wrong with buying Chinese. You use an iPhone, which is made in China. Designed by somebody else, but made in China. I think it would be good for this (Boeing/Airbus) monopoly to be broken,” he added.
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