As China’s first big domestically-made passenger plane, C919, rolled off the assembly line on Monday, President Xi Jinping expressed his congratulations to developers and called for careful preparation for a maiden flight.
“Xi said in an instruction that safety and quality of the aircraft should be prioritized during the preparation for the first flight, which is scheduled for next year,” Xinhua quoted an official statement.
The Chinese jet, which has a range of up to 5,555 kilometres (3,444 miles), could challenge foreign giants Airbus and Boeing for market share.
The C919 plane, developed by the Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China (COMAC), can seat 168 passengers.
The company already has orders for 517 of its C919 planes, according to a COMAC statement.
“China’s air transport industry cannot completely rely on imports. A great nation must have its own large commercial aircraft,” the country’s civil aviation chief Li Jiaxiang said at the launch ceremony.
“The roll out of the first C919 aircraft marks a significant milestone in the development of China’s first indigenous aircraft,” said COMAC chairman Jin Zhuanglong.