China unveils passenger aircraft to challenge Boeing and Airbus


China has unveiled its first large passenger aircraft in decades, in an effort to mount a challenge to planemakers Boeing and Airbus.

The C919, with 168 seats and range of 3,444 miles, was displayed at a ceremony attended by 4,000 guests.

The C919's first test flight is not until 2016, but the unveiling was seen as having huge industrial significance.

"A great nation must have its own large commercial aircraft," the country's civil aviation chief Li Jiaxiang said.

"China's air transport industry cannot completely rely on imports," he told the ceremony at a hangar near Shanghai's Pudong International Airport.

The BBC's economics correspondent Andrew Walker says the aircraft represents "an important step in China's economy moving beyond low-cost manufacturing".

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