Xi hails newly approved Chinese C919 jet as historic landmark

Chinese President Xi Jinping hailed the development of China’s first medium-haul passenger jet as the embodiment of the country’s drive towards self-sufficiency, with safety approval awarded to a plane that aims to challenge Western plane giants for high-tech jetliner sales.

The first C919 aircraft, designed to compete with popular single-aisle models made by Airbus AIR.PA and Boeing BA.N, will be delivered by the end of the year, state Xinhua News Agency said.

The news came a day after photos of a safety certification ceremony for the plane were posted on social media.

Xi said the flagship development would “accelerate the construction of a manufacturing powerhouse,” while stressing that China would put safety first, Xinhua reported.

Xi met a delegation of the plane’s developers in the Great Hall of the People and Xinhua quoted him as telling them were they pillars and heroes of the people.

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