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China takes delivery of its first C919 aircraft, which competes with the A320

China takes delivery of its first C919 aircraft, which competes with the A320

China announced on Friday that it has taken the first delivery of its new passenger plane, the C919, a competitor to the Airbus A320 that is scheduled to make its inaugural commercial flight in early 2023.

The first medium-haul aircraft designed by China, although most of its important parts come from abroad, the twin-engine plane from state-owned manufacturer Comac is also expected to compete with Boeing’s 737 MAX.

The first C919 model, which can accommodate 164 passengers, was officially handed over to the Chinese company China Eastern during a ceremony organized at Shanghai Airport, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

The event marks an “important milestone” for China’s aeronautical industry, the chain said.

Footage released by CCTV on Friday shows a plane with the China Eastern logo at a rain-soaked airport and a view into the plane’s cabin.

At an air show in November, Comac said it had received orders for 300 C919s. The manufacturer, however, did not provide details on the contract amount or delivery dates.

According to Chinese media, by the end of 2022, four of the aircraft should be delivered to China Eastern, the nation’s second-largest carrier by passenger numbers, ahead of a planned entry into service in the first quarter of next year.

The development of the C919 did not prevent China from signing a $17 billion contract with Airbus earlier this year.

The European planemaker also started production of the A321 in November at its local production line in Tianjin, near Beijing (in the north).

The Boeing 737 MAX has been grounded in China since 2019 after two fatal plane crashes.

At the end of October, the American manufacturer was pessimistic about the continuation of deliveries of this device, considering that the geopolitical situation did not allow predicting the improvement of the situation in the near future.

Ongoing trade tensions between the United States and China have reportedly slowed progress on the file.

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