SHANGHAI (AP) — The first regional jet produced by a Chinese government initiative to compete in the commercial aircraft market has made its debut flight.
The ARJ21-700 jet operated by Chengdu Airlines made the two-hour flight Tuesday from the western city of Chengdu to Shanghai with 70 passengers.
The plane is intended to make its state-owned manufacturer, Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China, a competitor to Bombadier Inc. of Canada and Brazil's Embraer SA.
The COMAC chairman, Jin Zhuanglong, said the flight "signifies the first time a domestically made regional jet has been used by a Chinese airline."
China is one of the biggest aviation markets but relies on foreign-made aircraft. The ARJ21 and a full-size jetliner also under development, the C919, are aimed at clawing benefits that flow to foreign commercial suppliers.