BEIJING, March 25 (Reuters) - China's C919 passenger jet, the symbol of its lofty aviation ambitions, has passed a major technical assessment, and has moved closer to its first flight, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.
A committee of 63 aviation specialists from across China had agreed the C919 is technically ready for its maiden flight, Xinhua reported, citing the aircraft's Shanghai-based maker Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC).
The C919's first flight has been delayed at least twice since 2014 because of production issues. State media reported last month that the jet could take to the skies in the first half of this year.
The committee had proven that the C919 was technically airworthy, but the jet was still subject to electromagnetic compatibility and taxiing tests before it could make its first flight, according to Xinhua.
The narrow-body aircraft, capable of carrying up to 168 passengers, would be competing with Boeing's new generation 737 and Airbus's updated A320. The C919 has a standard range of 4,075 km.
COMAC previously said it had received 570 orders for the C919 passenger jet from 23 customers. (Reporting by Ryan Woo; Editing by Robert Birsel)