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China's C919 passenger jet completes first long-haul flight

China's home-made C919 passenger jet has touched down safely after its first long-distance test flight. It brought the Asian nation one step closer to competing directly with aircraft giants Boeing and Airbus.

China's self-developed C919 passenger plane successfully carried out its first long-distance test flight on Friday. The country viewed the success as a milestone moving the jet into an airworthiness certification phase.

The Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China (COMAC) said in a statement the C919 flew from Shanghai to Xian, traveling more than 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) and reaching an altitude of 7,800 meters (25,590 feet).

The jet symbolizes China's long-term ambitions to eventually be in a position to compete with Boeing's 737 and Airbus's SE A320.

Watch video 01:23

Chinese passenger jet in maiden flight

Hoping to get approval

"The test flight indicates that the C919 possesses the ability to fly inter-city routes," COMAC noted.

The company is aiming to obtain certification for the plane from Chinese regulators as well as Europe's aviation safety watchdog.

The C919 already has 27 customers, who have placed orders and commitments for a total of 730 jets.

Friday's test flight came on the heels of a state visit to China by US President Donald Trump during which Beijing signed on to buy 300 Boeing jetliners for $37 billion (€31.8 billion).

hg/mm (AP/Reuters)

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