China has been waiting seven years for this event: the official presentation of the Chinese aircraft manufacturer COMAC’s (Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China) C919. 'C' for Comac, '9' is a Chinese symbol of longevity, and '19' indicates its maximum carrying capacity of 190 passengers.
The first of the six designated flight test aircraft officially rolled off its final assembly line in Shanghai on 2nd November. The event, attended by hundreds of guests, was broadcast live on Chinese state television.
Capable of transporting between 160 to 190 passengers over 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometres), thanks to its two Leap (CFM International) engines, the C919 is intended to compete with the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737. To date, the programme totals more than 500 orders, the vast majority of which are from Chinese airlines.
With its "made in China" single-aisle, China aims to become the third largest manufacturer in the civil aviation industry. Comac’s objective is to sell more than 2,000 units of the C919 by 2030; but first, the aircraft must prove itself in the air before obtaining certification. The first test flight is scheduled for next spring, with initial deliveries scheduled for early 2018.