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China-built aircraft C919 makes successful maiden flight

China’s first domestically-built large passenger jet C919 successfully completed its maiden flight on May 5, landing at 3:19 pm (7:19 am GMT) at Shanghai Pudong International Airport.

The C919 is a narrow-body aircraft designed to carry 168 passengers. It has a standard range of 4,075 kilometers and an extended range of 5,555 kilometers.

The C919 is China’s answer to main rivals on the market, including the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320.

Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd (COMAC), the C919’s manufacturer, said it has received 570 orders for the aircraft from 23 clients, including domestic airlines such as Air China, China Southern and China Eastern.

Overseas orders take up about 10 percent of the total, including US-based GECAS and airlines from Germany, Thailand and others from the Asia Pacific region.

The C919 has improved the aviation landscape in China and given a significant boost to the country’s aerospace industry. Analysts say the successful maiden flight shows China’s aviation industry has entered an upgrade period, with upcoming work on testing, production and delivery.