SHANGHAI, May 5 (Reuters) - China’s C919 narrow-body jet will make its first flight on Friday, capping a more than decade-long journey to build a plane which Beijing wants to use to compete against Boeing and Airbus.
Here are facts about the jet:
- The single-aisle twin-engine plane was made by state planemaker Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC), with seating for 158 to 168 passengers, but the maiden flight will be made with no passenger seats.
- The plane will have a range of between 4,075 kilometers and 5,555 kilometers (2,532 miles - 3,452 miles).
- China Eastern Airlines is the launch customer for the plane, which is powered by engines from French-U.S. supplier CFM International, jointly owned by General Electric and Safran.
- Other parts come from global suppliers such as Honeywell International Inc, United Technologies Corp’s subsidiary Goodrich, Rockwell Collins Inc and Parker-Hannifin Corp unit Parker Aerospace.
- COMAC has just over 50 people in its sales and marketing departments, a fraction of those at Boeing and Airbus.
- The C919, nicknamed “Big Nine” and “Fatty Nine”, has chalked up 570 firm orders and commitments from 23 customers, mainly Chinese state-backed airlines and leasing companies.
- Its only foreign buyer so far is leasing firm GE Capital Aviation Services, owned by General Electric.
- The safety certification of the new plane - which state media says will have a catalog price tag of around $50 million, less than half that of a Boeing 737 or Airbus A320 - could be among the biggest issues for the C919 internationally.
- Europe’s aviation safety regulator has said it has started the certification process for the C919 aircraft, a sign of closer ties between the two aviation markets. (Reporting by Jackie Cai and Brenda Goh; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)