China plane crash is finally scheduled for first commercial flight
Building a commercial airliner is such a monumental task that there are only two major manufacturers in the world, Airbus and Boeing. However, the The People’s Republic of China hopes to break into a multi-billion dollar market with its first domestically produced large passenger jet, Comac C919. After 14 years of development and questionable foreign intellectual property acquisitions, the plane will make its first commercial flight this weekend.
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China Eastern Airlines received its first C919 last December and it is the only one delivered so far. According to Reuters, China Eastern will eventually use the aircraft in revenue service on its 10:45 am flight from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport to Beijing Capital Airport this Sunday. The landmark flight will be appropriately numbered MU9191. And for any momentous occasion of national importance, a stamp was placed to commemorate the flight.
Comac C919 is designed to compete with aircraft A320 and Boeing 737. The state-owned aircraft maker has made several partnership deals with Western companies such as GE Aerospace and Honeywell to develop the C919 but has also been denied access to the C919. accused of stealing technology to build airplanes. A Chinese intelligence officer has been arrested, tried and found guilty of corporate espionage in a case involving US aerospace expertise. Even so, China’s foreign ministry felt the allegations were fabricated.
Time will tell whether Comac becomes an important player in the aviation industry alongside Airbus and Boeing. China’s various state-owned airlines have a total of 95 orders for the C919. There are almost no foreign orders for the aircraft. The Irish low-cost airline helped develop the C919 but ordered the plane.