The first Chinese-made passenger jet has taken to the skies on its inaugural commercial flight, in a symbolic moment for China’s technological independence after years of delays for the project.The single-aisle C919 flew from Shanghai to Beijing on Sunday following more than a decade of development and an estimated $72bn in support from Beijing.
The aircraft has boosted the aspirations of Chinese leader Xi Jinping as he aims for technological self-sufficiency for his country in the face of intensifying trade tensions with the US. The prospect, albeit long term, of a Chinese passenger jet industry could pose a threat to the Boeing-Airbus duopoly.
The C919 was built by state-backed aerospace champion Comac and the first flight was operated by national carrier China Eastern. Domestic media heralded the event as “a day to remember” and noted that Comac had received more than 1,000 orders from 32 customers, as of the end of 2022.