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Large domestic aircraft could take off by 2020

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 March, 2007, 12:00am

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China will be able to realise its ambition of building its own big plane by 2020, an industry official said yesterday.


Liu Daxiang , a deputy director of China Aviation Industry Corporation I's technology development arm, said the mainland's plan to build a large aircraft - defined as weighing more than 100 tonnes or with more than 150 seats - could be within reach by 2020.


'We are now well prepared for making large aircraft ... It is expected to hit the sky by 2020, if everything goes smoothly,' Xinhua quoted Mr Liu, who was attending the annual session of the National People's Congress, as saying.


But Mr Liu indicated that foreign co-operation would be welcome, even though construction would primarily rely on technology developed domestically.


He said some aircraft parts, including engines, could be provided by other countries.


'It's a common practice for a large aircraft producer like Boeing and Airbus to purchase parts from other countries,' Mr Liu said.


He said the central government should work out regulations on the development of large civil aircraft 'as soon as possible' to ensure the project progressed smoothly.


'A homemade large aircraft may inspire the nation like the country's manned spacecraft programme,' he said.


'The project will also speed technology advance in China's aviation industry and promote the development of secondary sectors.'