Production begins on China's jumbo jet

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Hong Kong, Sep.9 (ANI): China's largest domestically-produced jumbo jet made its international debut at Asia's biggest air show in Hong Kong Tuesday.

The single-aisle C919 is a jetliner with up to 200 seats that could boost the country's fledgling aviation industry to compete with Western rivals like Boeing Co. and Airbus SAS.

Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) designed the C919.

The plane is scheduled to take its maiden voyage in 2014 before being delivered to buyers in 2016, the China Daily quoted Wang Wenbin, an official of the COMAC, as saying.

Work on the prototype began last week, he said.

The project is a major first step by China toward the production of commercial planes, along with the research and technology capabilities for its fast-growing domestic market rather than relying on foreign companies. It would also pave the way for international expansion.

The C919 is designed for short- to medium-range hauls up to 5,555 km, and can seat as many as 200 depending on the configuration.

COMAC is currently in talks with major engine suppliers, including General Electric, Rolls Royce and United Technologies Corp's Pratt and Whitney, a senior executive of the firm said at the Asian Aerospace International Expo and Congress in Hong Kong Tuesday. (ANI)

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