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China’s first commercial jetliner, the C919, takes to the skies

Michelin is the exclusive OE and RT tire supplier of the COMAC 919, the first Chinese-built commercial jetliner

The Chinese government and aviation industry had been waiting for this moment for seven years. The first C919 took off from Shanghai Pudong airport, where the assembly line is based, on May 5 at 2 pm local time (8 am Paris time) for its inaugural flight. The single-aisle aircraft reached an altitude of 10,000 feet and the crew tested the main systems and evaluated its airworthiness. The plane landed safely after the 80-minute test flight.

These tires — like those fitted to the A320 — will make use of nylon radial technology. The aircraft will be a challenger for the A320 and Boeing 737 in the single-aisle 150-200 passenger category. The Comac teams visited Ladoux in December 2009 to assess the research and development potential of Michelin Aircraft Tyre and jointly define the tire specifications.

COMAC has made a significant stride towards joining the club of single-aisle aircraft manufacturers. This first flight fulfils its ambition to break Airbus and Boeing’s stranglehold on the market. It will be looking first to China as the majority of orders come from its domestic market but given the growth potential of the region, the company should keep its order books full.

The single-aisle aircraft should be able to carry between 158 and 168 passengers and cover a radius of 4,075 km. The company has already chalked up orders for 570 planes and will be supplying China Eastern airlines.