China’s second medium size passenger plane ready to fly

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Beijing, July 27 (IANS) A second model of C919, a medium size passenger aircraft with which Beijing aims to revolutionise the aviation industry, is ready to carry out test flights, the Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC) said on Thursday.

The aircraft is ready and waiting in Shanghai hangars for its maiden flight, scheduled to take place in the fourth quarter of the year, COMAC officials told Efe news.

The officials said the first C919 completed its inaugural flight successfully at the Pudong International Airport on May 5 during which flight conditions, equipment on board and landing gear were all tested.

In the testing of the second model, more emphasis will be put on the engine and fuel systems.

The company added that a total of seven C919 planes will be manufactured and flight tested before starting commercial operations in 2020.

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The C919 has been a challenging project for COMAC and China since it is a narrow-body aircraft – similar to over half the commercial planes currently active worldwide.

It is built to carry between 158 to 174 passengers, with a range of 4,075 to 5,555 km (2,532 to 3,452 miles), according to information on the COMAC website.

Equivalent models manufactured by its main rivals and market leaders in the aviation sector are the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320.

However, according to experts, China can potentially eclipse these companies in a few years with its new models.

Information provided by COMAC in May said a total of 23 domestic and international clients had placed orders for 570 C919 jets, construction of which is set to begin soon at a rate of 150 planes annually.

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