BEIJING, March 25 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)