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Xi hails huge progress in making C919

By CAO DESHENG,ZHU WENQIAN and WANG YING in Shanghai | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-10-01 07:42
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President Xi Jinping meets representatives involved in work on the C919 airliner at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Friday. LI XUEREN/XINHUA

President commends work on China's first self-developed large passenger jet

President Xi Jinping has called for leveraging the strength of the new type of whole-nation system to strive for major breakthroughs in China's high-end equipment manufacturing sector.

Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks on Friday while meeting representatives involved in work on the C919, China's first self-developed trunk jetliner. He visited an exhibition of the project's achievements after the meeting at the Great Hall of the People.

Xi commended the achievements at the current stage in the development of the C919 large passenger airplane. It carries "the country's will, the nation's dream and the people's aspiration" to make it possible for Chinese-developed large passenger jets to fly in the sky, he said.

Xi urged taking advantage of China's whole-nation system, adhering to the principle of "quality first and safety foremost" and making consistent efforts to achieve even greater breakthroughs in core technologies in key fields.

He underlined the need to step up developing the passenger aircraft on a large scale, advance the building of a strong manufacturing country in a down-to-earth manner, and make tireless efforts to build China into a modern socialist country in all respects and to realize the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation.

While visiting the exhibition at the Great Hall of the People, Xi learned about the design, manufacturing, trial flight and airworthiness of the C919. He said that in developing this large passenger jet, long-term strategies should be adopted, concrete targets suited to reality should be set, and the correct technological approaches should be chosen.

He encouraged those involved in the large passenger airplane project to be ambitious in order to climb the peak of world-class science and technology.

On Thursday, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council jointly sent a message of congratulations to the leaders' team of the special task force of the State Council for developing the large passenger aircraft, Commercial Aircraft Corp of China — the C919's manufacturer, and all those involved in the project for the approval of the type certificate of the first domestically developed large passenger jetliner.

Calling the success in developing the C919 aircraft an important milestone in the country's large passenger aircraft development, the message said it shows that China has the ability to develop large passenger jets in line with international airworthiness standards.

The C919 received its type certificate on Thursday in Beijing from the Civil Aviation Administration of China, indicating that the first plane can be delivered to China Eastern Airlines by the end of the year.

Comparable to the Airbus A320 and the Boeing B737 series, the debut of the C919 is expected to break the market duopoly of Boeing and Airbus and take the development of China's aviation industrial chain into the fast lane, experts said.

The C919 made its maiden flight on May 5, 2017. It has 158 to 168 seats and a flight range of 4,075-5,555 kilometers. So far, it has received 815 orders from 28 Chinese and overseas customers, according to its manufacturer Commercial Aircraft Corp of China.

At a later stage, the model also needs to obtain a production certificate before it can be put into mass production. It also needs to get a final permit for the commercial operation of passenger flights.

Qi Qi, an associate professor at Guangzhou Civil Aviation College, said receiving the type certificate means the C919 has made the transition from an experiment to a product.

After the C919 is put on the market, it will help raise the international competitiveness of China's aviation manufacturing industry and speed up the integrated growth of aircraft manufacturing and air transportation in China, said Zou Jianjun, a professor at the Civil Aviation Management Institute of China.

To operate in some foreign countries, the C919 also needs to receive airworthiness certificates from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency and the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States, experts said.

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