China's C919 airliner gets set to challenge Airbus and Boeing

According to Comac, some 200 Chinese firms and 36 universities participated in the development of the C919 jetliner. China is touting the C919 as a rival to single.

Friday's maiden flight will be a key milestone for the C919, which has been plagued by delays.

The narrow-body aircraft took off from the Shanghai Pudong International Airport on Friday. The test pilots came down smiling from the plane, wearing orange overalls with the Chinese flag.

"On a symbolic level, it also shows huge progress for China's civil aircraft industry", Royce said.

The C919, a twin-engine airliner created to compete with the Airbus 320 and Boeing 737, took off from Shanghai's Pudong worldwide airport in the early hours of Friday.

The C919 will be able to carry up to 168 passengers.

Comac also offered an unprecedented look inside the maiden flight of a new airliner.

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It has a range of 5,555km and has received 570 orders, nearly all from domestic airlines.

Federico Marziali, head of quality management of Dornier Seawings GmbH, said he is very impressed by the size of the COMAC C919 project. "You are not going to spend a lot of money on something you don't know", he said.

State-owned manufacturer Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, or Comac, will seek certification from the civil aviation authority and foreign regulators before making any deliveries.

The aircraft is part of the "Made in China 2025", a project to make China a global manufacturing power.

To date, COMAC has received 570 orders from 23 customers for the Chinese trunkliner.

It has a range of 5,555 kilometres (3,444 miles) and has received 570 orders, nearly all from domestic airlines.

The successful flight signals China's entry into the global aviation market, and moves the country one step closer to transforming itself from a manufacturer of low-priced goods to a creator of advanced technology.

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China Eastern is one of the nation's top three airlines, serving more than 100 million passengers in flights to 177 nations and regions in 1,062 destinations every year.

That means the 158-seat narrow-body twin-engine C919 is likely to be heavier than a comparable Boeing (ba) or Airbus (eadsy); less efficient; and less trusted than the planes from either established company. (Tianjin lies on the coast of north-east China.) Boeing has signed an agreement with, perhaps ironically, Comac, to set up an Aircraft Completion Centre for the 737, in the city of Zhoushan, south of Shanghai. But it was only in November 2015 that China unveiled the aircraft in public for the first time.

"I would say that a lot of their technology mirrors Airbus", he said.

However, the C919 will need to pass more tests to obtain Chinese airworthiness certification.

"We believe C919 will bring new competition to the market", he said. The plane was originally due to fly in 2014 and be delivered to buyers in 2016.

China began to develop its own jumbo passenger jets in the 1970s and the first one, the Y-10, had a successful test flight in 1980.

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