China held a ceremony on Thursday to certify its C919 narrowbody passenger jet, photos on social media showed, representing a major milestone in the country’s ambitions to challenge Airbus and Boeing in commercial aerospace, reports Reuters. The plane, produced by state-owned manufacturer Commercial Aircraft Corp of China, had been widely expected to be certified by the end of the month after two aircraft flew to Beijing on September 13. A sign in one of the photos said “C919 aircraft type certificate issuance ceremony” in Chinese.
The C919, launched 14 years ago and designed to carry up to 168 passengers, will compete against the popular Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX families in the world’s second-biggest aviation market as China looks to boost its technological self-reliance amid trade tensions.
Although the plane is assembled in China, it relies heavily on Western components, including engines and avionics, from companies including GE, Safran and Honeywell International.