China recently showed off its latest aircraft model that is giving Boeing and Airbus aircraft a run for its money. Strangely this is actually the first airplane China has fabricated on its own, manufactured by the state-owned COMAC. The ruling communist party debuted the C919 at a news conference in Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport on Monday, showcasing the massive aircraft and its capabilities to compete with some of the other top commercial jetliners.
These plans come at a time when China is making major initiatives to bulk up their presence in aviation suppliers. They have one of the biggest aviation markets but depend on other aircraft like the Boeing’s 737 and Airbus A320, both from foreign suppliers. The twin-engine C919 jet seats 168 passengers and is an attempt to become a big hitter in the market and gain some commercial benefits that are being lost to these foreign suppliers.
Mavis Toh, Asia air transport editor for Flightglobal magazine shares, “It’s a major push for the country, as they want to be known as a major player [in airplane manufacturing.]”
According to AP, COMAC has already received orders requesting for a total of 517 aircraft, this mostly from Chinese carriers but a few orders from GE Capital Aviation Services. These development plans for the aircraft have been in the making since 2008 with original roll out in 2016; however production delays held back the release and timeline for active service is now looking towards 2019.
Source and Images: Business Insider