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A model of a C919 airliner by Commercial Aircraft Corp of China is displayed at China Beijing International High-tech Expo in Beijing, China. Picture: JASON LEE/REUTERS
A model of a C919 airliner by Commercial Aircraft Corp of China is displayed at China Beijing International High-tech Expo in Beijing, China. Picture: JASON LEE/REUTERS

Shanghai — China’s home-grown C919 narrow-body jet, designed to challenge the Airbus-Boeing duopoly, is nearing certification as its test aircraft completed all test flight tasks, the state-owned manufacturer said on Saturday.

Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac) said on its social media account that the six test aircraft have finished the testing tasks as the programme enters the final stage of receiving a certificate from the Civil Aviation Administration of China that is required for commercial operations.

That would mark a milestone in China’s ambitions to climb the manufacturing supply chain. China’s Comac is effectively the third option in the market for aircraft with more than 100 seats, after Boeing and Airbus struck deals to take over production of rival aircraft made by Embraer and Bombardier.

Designed to compete directly with the Boeing 737 Max and Airbus 320neo families, the C919 aircraft programme has faced a range of technical issues and tougher US export controls, after being launched in 2008.

The launch customer is the state-owned China Eastern Airlines, which has placed an order for five C919 jets in March last year. Changjiang Daily, a newspaper owned by the local government of Wuhan, said in a report on July 8 the airline is scheduled to take the first delivery in August.

Assembled in China, the aircraft relies heavily on Western components, including engines and avionics.

Reuters

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