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China encourages foreign firms to participate in its large jet program
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China encourages and welcomes foreign companies to participate in its large jet program, said Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang Wednesday.

Zhang made the remarks while meeting with Jean-Paul Herteman, Chief Executive Officer of Safran group, a French high-tech company with a leading position in aerospace, defense and security.

Safran is one of the competitive bidders for the large jet program which China approved in February 2007.

"To develop the large jet is a strategic decision of the Chinese government and one of the major programs for building up an innovation-oriented country," said Zhang.

The Chinese government encourages and welcomes foreign companies, including Safran, to participate in China's large jet and other civilian aircraft programs to achieve mutual-beneficial and win-win results, Zhang said.

The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), a major entity of the large jet program, was inaugurated in 2008 in China's financial hub Shanghai to independently produce the country's jumbo passenger aircraft.

COMAC displayed a scale model of its jetliner C919, the country's first home-grown large commercial airliner, at an international air show which opened on Wednesday in Beijing.

Reports said that the maiden flight of C919 was planned for late 2014, with delivery expected by 2016.

COMAC has sent requests for proposal to over 100 potential suppliers, both domestic and international, and has been in touch with several engine suppliers.

Only the United States, Europe, and Russia are able to produce large passenger aircraft with more than 150 seats. Airbus and Boeing are in the dominant position in the world market.

(Xinhua News Agency September 23, 2009)

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