May 5, 2017 / 7:11 AM / 5 months ago

China's C919 jet: from drawing board to take-off

The first C919 passenger jet made by the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) is seen during a test in Shanghai, China April 16, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China’s C919 narrow-body jet makes its maiden flight on Friday, capping a decade-long effort to build a plane that Beijing hopes will compete against Boeing and Airbus.

Here is a timeline of the main events that took place in the run-up to the jet’s first flight.

May 2008: China establishes Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) in Shanghai and announces plans to produce its first large commercial jetliner which it calls C919.

April 2009: COMAC finishes the C919’s initial design and says it aims to send the jet on its maiden flight in 2014, according to the state-owned Beijing News.

Sept. 2009: COMAC unveils a model of the C919 aircraft for the first time at the Asian Aerospace Expo in Hong Kong.

Nov. 2010: China announces the C919 has received its first order - a deal for 100 planes.

Oct. 2013: Local media reports the C919’s first flight will be delayed by a year until 2015, pushing first delivery dates to around 2017 or 2018.

May 2014: Chinese President Xi Jinping visits COMAC’s offices and says large jets are a reflection of China’s national capabilities and urges the development of a competitive aviation industry.

Feb. 2015: Xinhua reports COMAC has completed the basic assembly of its medium-range C919 large passenger aircraft and will launch test flights that year.

July 2015: COMAC delays the C919’s maiden flight which was scheduled to fly by end-2015.

Nov. 2015: COMAC unveils the C919 in public for the first-time in a roll-out ceremony broadcast over state media.

Nov. 2016: COMAC said total orders for the C919 had reached 570 from 23 customers, made up of a mix of firm orders and options. China Eastern Airlines will be the jet’s launch customer.

Dec. 2016: COMAC moves C919 to its test flight centre on Christmas Day.

March 2017: Xinhua news agency reports the C919 is technically ready for take-off.

May 2017: COMAC says jet will make its maiden flight on May 5.

Reporting by Jackie Cai and Brenda Goh; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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