(International experts attend a forum organized by COMAC at Airshow China 2016)
China's homegrown C919 passenger plane completed its first public flight test on Friday, marking a milestone in the development of China's civil aviation industry. The successful flight moves the country one step closer to transforming itself from a manufacturer of low-cost goods to a creator of advanced technology.
Aviation at new level
Aviation experts have hailed the strong growth momentum of China's aviation industry, which, they said, has taken an important step in the right direction.
The twin-engine C919 is made by the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC). With a standard range of 4,075 km, the narrow-body jet is comparable with updated Airbus 320 and Boeing's new generation 737 planes.
The aviation expert noted that there are two things to understand: First, "the role of Chinese government to accelerate innovation and to push innovation and program very fast." Second, "the ability of COMAC to probably innovate fast and shake up what we see as a cycle here in North America."
Gaining experience in aviation
Shaking the dominance of giants Boeing and Airbus in the near future is unrealistic, as the experts have pointed out, but the Chinese jetliner could be a strong option for global carriers in decades to come.
Using a number of existing advantages, including the possibility of some price reduction due to its own very large domestic market and the attraction of cheap credit resources from Chinese state-owned banks, China will be able to compete seriously with American and European producers and catch up with them, industry insiders say.
Focusing on domestic market
A total of 23 foreign and domestic customers, including China's national carrier Air China, have placed orders for 570 aircraft, according to COMAC.
Boeing predicted last year that China will become the world's top aviation market within 20 years, projecting a demand for more than 6,000 new aircraft in the next two decades with a total value of $1 trillion.
The C919 will be a strong competitor in this field as it is economical and comfortable, according to a research note from Guosen Securities.