China unveils narrow-body jet, showcasing aviation goals

China unveiled a prototype of its first homegrown passenger jet that it hopes will compete with airliners from Boeing Co. and Airbus Group SE, setting the stage for the plane’s first flight sometime next year.
A crowd of several thousand gathered Monday as Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China rolled out the single-aisle C919 at the company’s manufacturing and assembly center in Pudong, near Shanghai’s main airport. The plane emerged from layers of red curtains with gold trimming to applause and patriotic songs blaring from the sound system.

“The air transportation industry of China cannot completely rely on imports,” Li Jiaxiang, head of China’s civil aviation administration, said in a speech. “A great nation must have its own large commercial aircraft.”

China’s focus on a homegrown aerospace industry is part of a broader push to elevate its economy into the ranks of advanced industrialized nations by 2020. With a capacity for 168 passengers, the C919 aims to challenge the dominance of the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 in ..

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