The large commercial jet market dominated by Boeing and Airbus is set to get some more competition with the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) unveiling China’s first home-grown large passenger jet. The C919 made its debut at the Zhuhai air show in the southern province of Guandong in the form of a 1:1 display prototype of the aircraft’s cockpit and cabin front.
The C919 is a single-aisle, narrow-body airliner that seats between 168 (whole economy class) and 156 (mixed-class) passengers. Its dimensions are similar to that of the Airbus A320, with a fuselage that measures 3.96m (13 ft) wide and 4.16m (13 ft, 8 in) high. Its wingspan will be 33.6m (110 ft, 3 in), or 35.4m 116 ft, 3 in) in winglets are included. The aircraft will have a cruising speed of Mach 0.785, be able to carry a payload of 20.4 metric tons and will have a maximum altitude of 12,100m (39,800 ft).
Seen as a prospective competitor to the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320, the standard variant of the aircraft will boast a range of 4,075km (2,532 miles), while an extended-range version will be capable of a range of 5,555km (3,451 miles) to meet the requirements of different routes.
The aircraft will initially be made using a version of the LEAP-X engine, the LEAP-X1C, supplied by CFM International. However, COMAC has indicated a desire to produce a locally-made engine for the aircraft in the future.
China Daily reports that the first 100 orders for the aircraft were placed a the Zhuhai air show by four of China’s major airlines – Air China, China Eastern, China Southern, Hainan Airlines – as well as two airplane leasing companies.
COMAC has set the first test flight of the C919 for 2014, with delivery of the first aircraft to customers slated for 2016 following airworthiness certification.
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