The maiden flight of the C919, China’s first domestically-built large passenger jet, is scheduled for May 5, the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) said on Wednesday. The flight will depart from Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport and will be rescheduled if “weather conditions are not suitable”, Xinhua news agency quoted COMAC as saying.The C919, China’s answer to the Boeing 737 and Airbus 320, signals the country’s entry into the global aviation market as a strong competitor, analysts said.
In 2007, plans to develop a Chinese-built large passenger jet were approved by the State Council. In November 2015, the first C919 jet rolled off the assembly line.”Engineers have completed over 118 tests and are prepared for the maiden flight,” COMAC said. The plane passed an expert technical appraisal this March. It has 158 seats and a standard range of 4,075 km. COMAC has received 570 orders from 23 customers, including from China’s national carrier Air China, and leasing company GE Capital Aviation Service.