The first large Chinese-made passenger jetliner has taken off on its maiden test flight, a symbolic milestone in China’s long-term goal to break into the Western-dominated aircraft market.
State television said the jet would be tested at an altitude of 3,000 meters, which is 7,000 meters lower than normal flight, with a speed of about 300 kilometers per hour.
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The plane was originally scheduled to fly in 2014 and be delivered to buyers in 2016. It has been beset by delays blamed on manufacturing problems.
If Friday’s maiden flight is successful, the aircraft’s maker, state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China Ltd., or Comac, will then seek certification from China’s civil aviation authority and foreign regulators.
China is looking to reduce its dependence on Boeing’s 737 made in the United States and the Airbus A320 made in Europe.
The country’s ever-increasing travel market is expected to surpass the U.S. market by 2024, according to the International Air Transport Association.
The jet’s development is a key step on the path laid out by Chinese leaders to transform the country into a creator of profitable technology.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.