(FILES) This file photo taken on November 2, 2015 shows China's first big passenger plane, the C919, on display at a facility in commercial hub in Shanghai. / AFP / STR /
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China is expected this week to conduct the maiden test flight of a home-grown passenger jet built to meet soaring domestic travel demand and challenge the dominance of Boeing and Airbus.The C919 is the country's first big passenger plane and the latest sign of growing Chinese ambition and technical skill, coming one week after China launched its first domestically made aircraft carrier and docked a cargo spacecraft with an orbiting space lab.The C919 can seat 168 passengers and has a range of 5,555 kilometers (3,444 miles).China is a huge battleground for Boeing and Airbus, with its travelers taking to the skies in ever-growing numbers.Airbus has estimated Chinese airlines will need nearly 6,000 new planes over the next two decades, while Boeing foresees 6,800 aircraft.COMAC's first regional jet, the 90-seat ARJ 21, entered service in 2016, several years late.
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