China’s rival to Boeing, Airbus narrowbody completes test flight

A Chinese rival to Boeing Co.’s 737 Max and Airbus SE’s A320neo narrow-body aircraft completed its maiden pre-delivery test flight, according to a CCTV report.

The C919 jet, developed by Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China Ltd., was tested for about three hours on Saturday before it will soon be delivered to its first customer, the report said.

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The narrow-body aircraft cost $99 million, according to a filing this week by Shanghai-based China Eastern Airline Corp., which has signed a deal to buy five of those passenger jets.

The pre-service test flight brings the Chinese homegrown passenger jet maker one step closer to challenging the Boeing and Airbus duopoly in the global commercial aircraft market.

Comac began development of the C919 in 2008, but missed the previous deadline to deliver its first aircraft at the end of 2021.

While the C919 marks China’s effort to reduce reliance on Airbus and Boeing, the aircraft still relies on foreign companies such as General Electric Co. for many critical parts.

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