A Rival is born - Presentation of the C919
COMAC (Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China), a Chinese state-owned aircraft manufacturer on Monday presented the first plane produced by a Chinese initiative to compete in the market for large passenger aircrafts.
China is naturfally one of the biggest aviation markets in the world but totally depends on Boeing and Airbus aircraft for longer distances. The multibillion-dollar project to create the homegrown C919 aircraft is aimed at stopping the outflow of capital to foreign suppliers and companies.
COMAC showed off the first of the twin-engine planes in a impressive presentation attended by a few thousand government officials and other guests at a hangar near Shanghai's Pudong International Airport.
Mrs. Mavis Toh, Asia air transport editor for Flightglobal magazine, said that this would be a major push for for China in their effort to become a major player in the aircraft manufacturing industry.
The COMAC C919 aircraft is one of several projects launched by the ruling Communist Party to convert China from the world's low-cost fabrication place into a creative manufacturer of state of the art technology in aviation and other sectors.
The C919, which provides space for up to 168 passengers, is meant to compete directly with the Airbus A320 and Boeing's 737, both of which are dominating the market for single-aisle jets.
Its manufacturer COMAC says it has already booked orders from 21 mainly Chinese customers for a total of 517 aircraft, but it seems that also GE Capital Aviation Services has already put their first order down.
The C919 is expected to have its first flight in 2016 and then entering into service some time in 2019.