Baku, May 5, AZERTAC
China's homegrown large passenger plane, the C919, took to the sky on Friday, according to Xinhua.
The flight makes China the fourth jumbo jet producer after the United States, West Europe and Russia. It also marks a milestone for the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), the Shanghai-based manufacturer of the C919.
The twin-engine plane departed from Shanghai Pudong International Airport with five crew members on board but no passengers.
The plane took off at around 2 p.m. The 80-minute flight was greeted with applause by more than 1,000 spectators on the tarmac, including Vice Premier Ma Kai and Shanghai Party chief Han Zheng.
The "C" in the aircraft's name stands for both China and COMAC, while 9 symbolizes "forever" in Chinese culture, and 19 represents the 190 seats at maximum capacity.
"The maiden flight was exciting," said Wu Guanghui, C919's chief designer, adding that it was a major breakthrough in China's civil aviation history, as well as the start of a new era of advanced manufacturing in the country.
With a standard range of 4,075 kilometers, the narrow-body jet is comparable with updated Airbus 320 and Boeing's new generation 737, signaling the country's entry into the global aviation market.
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