China's first homegrown passenger plane takes to the sky for maiden flight

The C919, made by state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China Ltd., or Comac, took off from Pudong International Airport in Shanghai.

Built by state-owned aerospace manufacturer Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), the plane represents almost a decade of effort in a government-mandated drive to reduce dependence on European consortium Airbus and U.S. aerospace giant Boeing.

The white, green and blue aircraft made a successful landing after a 90-minute flight from Shanghai's global airport.

It claims to have already received 570 orders from 23 customers, most of which are reportedly state-owned airlines.

Following the maiden flight of C919, China's first home-built passenger jet, in Shanghai on Friday, the nation is en route to become a major player in the global aviation market.

The C919, with over 150 seats and a standard range of 4,075 kilometers, is expected to compete with the updated Airbus 320 and Boeing's new-generation 737, which now dominate the market, the report said.

The successful test flight of the C919 comes only nine days after the country debuted its first homegrown aircraft carrier in Dalian, Liaoning province, showing the world its manufacturing prowess, development of advanced technology and national ambition to regain past glory.

It will have a range of between 4,075 and 5,555km (2,532 - 3,452 miles).

Getting European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification would be a huge win for the program as it carries different weight comparing with China's certification recognition.

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China's homegrown large passenger plane C919 takes off on its maiden flight in Shanghai, east China, May 5, 2017.

"There's a lot riding on the C919, " said Xu Yongling, a military test pilot and a member of the Beijing-based Chinese Society of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Boeing has projected that China's fast-expanding middle class will create the first $1 trillion air travel market, needing about 7,000 extra aircraft over the next 20 years - about 30 percent of the world's total demand.

Ballantyne added that "it is very unlikely that it will be able to compete in terms of technology and economics with the new-generation aircraft" produced by of Boeing and Airbus. But even Comac workers conceded in conversations with Fortune that their first plane, the C919, wouldn't do that.

COMAC plans to make six planes for tests, and the second one is getting ready at the final assembly workshop in Shanghai, the builder said.

Behind the landmark jet is state-owned aerospace manufacturer Comac, who are now hoping to rub shoulders with the likes of Boeing and Airbus after overcoming design setbacks and myriad problems since it was founded in 2008.

The statistic is a good reminder that developing an aviation industry takes many decades.

"We believe C919 will bring new competition to the market", he said. Chinese airlines are buying hundreds of Boeing and Airbus jets to grow their fleets.

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