China will return to the drawing board after three decades to resume manufacture of a jumbo aircraft to meet the nation’s growing demand for air travel, industry sources said.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said last Sunday in his report on government work that China will start making jumbo aircraft before the end of the 11th Five-Year Plan—2006-2010.
This is the first time the idea has surfaced, an earlier attempt was aborted in the 1980s.
The jumbo aircraft project will speed technology advances in China’s aviation industry and promote the development of secondary sectors, quoting an industry source as saying.
China started to build jumbo aircraft in 1970, just two years after Europe’s Airbus went into production.
China’s first jumbo aircraft named ‘Yunshi’ made its maiden flight successfully in 1980 and but failed to gain a foothold in the country.
“If the ‘Yunshi’ project had not been halted, China would be ranked as one of the countries with a first-class aviation industry.” Hu Xitao, a former official of China’s Aviation Ministry said.
With air travel soaring by 95 per cent in the past five years, China has the second largest civil aviation market after the United States.