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Chinese-made large passenger jet passes assessment for maiden flight

SHANGHAI — China’s first large domestically designed and built passenger jetliner has passed a major technical assessment, bringing it a closer to its maiden flight, sources with the developer said Saturday.

An evaluation committee consisting 63 aviation specialists from across China has agreed the C919 is technically ready for its maiden flight, said the Shanghai-based aircraft maker, Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China (COMAC) in a press release.

The experts have worked in seven teams to assess the jet’s design, structure and performances, which they have tested in labs, on board and during low-speed taxiing, it said.

The committee has proven the C919 is technically airworthy but the jet is still subject to electromagnetic compatibility and taxiing tests before it takes to the air.

The jet was built in 2015 and COMAC completed the onboard systems installation as well as major static and system integration tests before the technical assessment.

The C919, with over 150 seats and a standard range of 4,075 kilometers, is expected to compete with the updated Airbus 320 and Boeing’s new-generation 737, which currently dominate the market.

By the end of 2016, 21 customers had placed orders for more than 500 C919 aircraft, and COMAC expects to sell at least 2,000.

China’s first regional commercial aircraft, the ARJ21, began commercial operation in June 2016.

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