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China to Have Own Jumbo Aircraft by 2020
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China's dream to have self- developed jumbo aircraft is expected to come true by 2020 if everything goes well, said an expert on Monday.

"We are now fairly well conditioned for making large aircraft with the sound support from growing national economic strength, technological development and experience in manufacturing," said Liu Daxiang, deputy head of the Department of Science and Technology Development under China Aviation Industry Corporation I (AVIC I).

The preparation work has been going well, said Liu, also a deputy to the ongoing parliament session. He added the government should work out regulations on the development of large civil aircraft "as soon as possible" to ensure the project progresses smoothly.

"A home-made large aircraft may inspire the nation like the country's manned spacecraft program," said Liu. "The project will also speed technology advance in China's aviation industry and promote the development of secondary sectors."

China started to build jumbo aircraft in 1970, just two years after Airbus went into production, but the project was later shelved despite a promising start.

The central government revived the blueprint, after decades' suspension, in the 11th Five-Year Plan for the 2006-2010 period in an aim to meet the country's growing demand for air travel. The plan was approved by national lawmakers last year.

The jumbo aircraft generally refers to an airfreighter with a flying-off weight of more than 100 tons or an airliner with more than 150 seats.

So far, only the United States, Russia, France, Germany, Britain and Spain can build jumbo aircraft, with the U.S. producer Boeing Co. and Europe's Airbus took the lion's share of the International market, according to Liu.

(Xinhua News Agency March 12, 2007)

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