Beijing : Making a major advancement in the aviation industry, China took a giant leap and rolled out its first homegrown large passenger jet off the production line in Shanghai, vowing to challenge the dominance of Airbus and Boeing in the global commercial aviation market. This move of industrial capture by China can be seen as a major competition to the Boeing and Airbus market share as China has come up with its own homegrown C919 passenger jet. Launched at a mega ceremony amidst huge fanfare and applause, a shiny C919 — sporting a largely white fuselage with a blue wavy stripe and a green tail — was towed beneath a banner with the phrase “a dream takes off” and past a huge Chinese national flag.
The C919 is a machine which flies on twin-engine power with a narrow-body aircraft, having the capacvity of seating up to 174 people. The C919 is comparable to the size, power and capacity of Airbus 320 and Boeing 737 series of jets. With a flying range of up to 5,555 kilometers (3,451 miles), the C919 is designed to compete head-to-head with its Airbus and Boeing rivals, and is expected to easily cover popular business and leisure routes from China such as Shanghai to Singapore and Beijing to Bangkok. With the number of Chinese travelers always on the rise in the international routes, this aircraft is poised to boost revenues to the home business and has the capacity to cause a major dent in the revenue sheets of world competitors.
Launched in 2008, the C919 project marks China’s return to the business of making large passenger jetliners, after a failed attempt in the 1980s. Although the C919’s maiden flight is at least a year away, its manufacturer, the state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac), has already made no secret of its future plans to make another, wide-body airliner. The present Communist government of China also aims at using the C919 to work as a springboard in developing nationwide aviation industry, boasting the involvement of more than 200 companies, 36 universities and hundreds of thousands of personnel in the plane’s development. China has ambitious plans of spreading its wings across the global aviation scenario, and the C919 is being interpreted as a major break through in this direction.
The United States of America and Eurpoe at large has taken some solace from the fact that not all of this C919 is an indigenous venture of China, as many key components of the C919 will be made overseas — including the engines (by U.S.-French joint venture CFM International), power system and landing gears (both by U.S.-based Honeywell).