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Test flight conducted for second prototype of China's passenger jet

BEIJING A second prototype of the China-built C919 passenger jet took off for a test flight in Shanghai yesterday, state television reported.

Six prototypes will conduct test flights, China Central Television reported, with engine tests to be a particular focus.

The aim was to conduct another long-distance test flight late next month, chief engineer Wang Wei was quoted as saying.

More than 1,000 tests would be carried out.

The narrow-body aircraft, which will compete with Boeing's 737 and the Airbus A320, is a symbol of China's ambitions to penetrate the global passenger jet market, estimated to be worth US$2 trillion (S$2.7 trillion) over the next 20 years.

The C919 made its maiden flight on May 5 after numerous delays.

Analysts have questioned the long periods between previous test flights.

It completed its first long-distance flight on Nov 10, flying for 2 hours and 23 minutes from Shanghai to the central Chinese city of Xi'an, covering more than 1,300 km and reaching an altitude of 7,800m.

Its manufacturer, the Commercial Aircraft Corp of China Ltd (Comac), called the flight a milestone that marked the plane's move into an airworthiness certification phase.

The plane has dozens of customers who have placed orders and commitments for 785 jets, Comac has said. - REUTERS

BUSINESS & FINANCE