China to speed up technology development after successful C919 jet, state media reports

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BEIJING/SYDNEY, Sept 30 (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Friday his country would step up efforts to achieve technological breakthroughs after the C919 narrow-body jet was certified by its aviation regulator, state media reported.

The first aircraft, designed to compete with single-aisle aircraft made by Airbus (AIR.PA) and Boeing (BA.N), will be delivered by the end of the year, according to the Xinhua news agency.

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

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Although the C919 is assembled in China, it relies heavily on Western components, including engines and avionics, from companies such as GE (GE.N), Safran (SAF.PA) and Honeywell International (HON.O) .

Xi met with a C919 delegation in Beijing on Friday, ahead of the country’s National Day on Saturday, according to the Xinhua report.

During the meeting, Xi stressed China’s emphasis on technological breakthroughs to accelerate its development as a manufacturing powerhouse.

He said the successful development of the C919 indicates that China has the ability to independently develop world-class passenger aircraft and is a milestone in the development of China’s large aircraft industry, according to Xinhua.

In the 15 years since the start of the project, China has successfully designed the aircraft, integrated systems, issued global tenders and gradually improved the level of localization, Xi added.

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Reporting by Sophie Yu in Beijing and Jamie Freed in Sydney, Editing by Mark Heinrich and Elaine Hardcastle

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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