In a significant move that could disrupt the dominance of Airbus and Boeing, China’s C919 passenger plane successfully completed its maiden flight. State TV captured the moment as the C919 gracefully ascended into the Shanghai skies, embarking on its journey to the capital, Beijing, in the early hours of Sunday.

Designed and manufactured by the Commercial Aviation Corporation of China (Comac), the C919 aims to challenge the market position of the single-aisle jets produced by Airbus and Boeing. While boasting a capacity of 164 passengers, it still heavily relies on Western components, including engines and avionics.

The Shanghai-Beijing leg of the inaugural flight, carrying over 130 passengers, concluded in just under three hours, impressing those on board. One passenger, Liu Peng, expressed confidence in China’s aviation capabilities, stating, “I’m really confident in our country. The C919 will definitely get better and better.”

Among the passengers was 21-year-old student and aviation enthusiast LV Boyuan, who couldn’t contain his emotions. He shared his excitement with Reuters, saying, “I’m feeling very emotional.” LV Boyuan planned to take a regular flight to Chengdu from Shanghai airport and return the next day on a C919 flight.

China Eastern Airline, a state-backed carrier, has already placed an order for five C919 planes, indicating early support for the domestically produced aircraft. Additionally, Comac has received over 1,200 orders for the C919, positioning itself for significant growth in the aviation market. However, experts caution that many of these orders may be in the form of letters of intent from domestic customers.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, who demonstrated his enthusiasm for the project by sitting in the cockpit of a mock-up C919 a few years ago, considers it one of China’s most remarkable achievements in innovation. This milestone follows the C919’s first test flight in 2017, with subsequent successful flights building confidence in its capabilities.

As China sets its sights on producing 150 C919 planes annually within five years, the aviation industry eagerly watches its progress. The C919’s successful maiden flight marks a bold step for China, signaling its determination to establish a significant presence in the passenger aircraft market and challenge the established industry giants.