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Jumbo jet finds many takers
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Airlines and aircraft lessors from China and abroad are approaching China's jumbo jet producer, eager to become the first user of this more economic and environment-friendly home-made passenger plane, a senior executive said yesterday.

The list of primary users of the C919, China's largest domestically produced jumbo jet, will be announced in the first half of next year, said Chen Jin, sales and marketing chief, Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd (COMAC), at the Beijing International Aviation Summit.

Chen said airlines and aircraft leasing companies from both home and abroad had evinced interest in the jumbo jet. He, however, declined to reveal the company names.

"A plane satisfying market needs will surely get orders. The C919 jumbo jet is more advanced compared to the current operating aircraft of the same size," he said.

Compared to similar jets made by the two global aviation giants, Boeing and Airbus, the C919 will be cheaper for airlines to operate.

"It will use between 12 and 15 percent less fuel, and help reduce carbon emissions," he said.

Parts of the jumbo jet will use composite materials to reduce weight, said Wu Guanghui, chief designer of the C919.

So far, COMAC has nailed down its domestic manufacturers. The wings will be produced in Xi'an, the nose will be manufactured in Chengdu, the fuselage in Shenyang and Nanchang, and the parts will be finally assembled in Shanghai, he said.

"These manufacturers also supply parts for Airbus and Boeing, so their production capacity should not be doubted," he said.

As the first home-made jumbo jet, the letter C represents China as well as COMAC, the first 9 implies forever in Chinese culture, and 19 means the jet will have 190 seats.

The single-aisle jetliner is designed for short- to medium-range hauls up to 5,555 km.

Its scheduled maiden voyage is slated for 2014 and the aircraft will be up for deliveries after 2016.

(China Daily September 23, 2009)

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