C919 to take first flight in 2014: COMAC

16:52, March 12, 2010      

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Aircraft C919, China's first home-grown large commercial airliner, will embark on its maiden flight in 2014 and enter service in 2016, said Wu Guanghui Thursday, chief designer of the C919 and vice president of The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC.

The design proposal of the C919 will be completed at the end of 2010, and within the next 20 years, COMAC is expected to sell 2,000 C919 jetliners, said Wu.

Compared with other 150-seat single-aisle airliners like Boeing and Airbus, C919 is designed to be more comfortable with a larger cabin space. The chair width of the C919 will be wider than overseas-produced airplanes, said Wu.

''The C919 is targeted to have a higher cost-performance ratio,'' said Wu, and the direct operating cost will be cheaper than that of in-service foreign aircrafts, which means that airline companies can gain 10 percent more profit by using the C919.

Although domestically-produced airlines had a late takeoff, COMAC has adopted a cooperation model involving suppliers and main manufacturers to share risks and interests together.

''In order to lessen costs for research and development, suppliers should also put in their investment and use advanced technologies and materials to reduce the weight of the plane,'' stated Wu.

Chinese airlines are watching the development of the country's first home-grown jetliner, and COMAC is contacting foreign customers for orders of the C919. COMAC is quite confident about the C919's prospects, saying ''We will cover 50 percent of the Chinese market,'' he said.

''The C919 will be developed into a series of products to meet different requirements of customers in the future. We will also design aircraft suitable for plateau airports, especially in Lhasa, Jiuzhaigou Valley and Yunnan,'' Wu added.

Source: Global Times
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