China outlines push to develop domestic engine for C919 jet in five-year plan

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will push forward with the development of CJ1000, a turbofan jet engine designed to power the homemade C919 narrowbody aircraft, the government said on Friday in its development plan for the 2021-2025 period.

It also aims to achieve breakthrough in engine technology for widebody jets, the government said.

Chinese-made civil aircraft, including the C919, currently use foreign engines but the country has been trying to develop a home-grown alternative as it seeks to cut its dependence on foreign sources of sophisticated technology.

In 2018, the United States charged Chinese intelligence officers for a data hack to steal information on a turbo fan engine used in commercial jetliners. China denied the charges.

China’s C919 plane is on track to get its airworthiness certification by the end of 2021 and deliver the first aircraft to the launch customer, Wu Guanghui, chief designer of the C919 programme, said on Friday.

China Eastern Airlines, which is the launch customer, signed a firm order on Monday to buy 5 C919 jets.

The government will also push for “exemplary operations” of C919 over the next five years, it said.

Russia, which has teamed up with China to develop the widebody jet CR929, in December flew a new passenger airliner with domestically built engines for the first time since the Soviet era.

Reporting by Stella Qiu in Beijing and Jamie Freed in Sydney; Editing by Himani Sarkar