China to Build Its Own Airliner

October 25, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. reach new heights /ritʃ nu haɪts/ (idiom) – to be more successful or to advance further
Example: The company reached new heights with the opening of its first international branch.

2. powerhouse /ˈpaʊ ərˌhaʊs/ (n.) – someone or something with great success and has a huge influence
Example: China is an economic powerhouse in Asia.

3. accommodate /əˈkɒm əˌdeɪt/ (v.) – to provide space or room for someone or something
Example: The private jet can accommodate only five passengers.

4. takeoff /ˈteɪkˌɔf/ (n.) – refers to the process of going to the air, usually in aircrafts
Example: Passengers should have their seatbelts on during the plane’s takeoff.

5. reluctant /rɪˈlʌk tənt/ (adj.) – lacking in assurance or confidence to do something
Example: He was reluctant to continue his flight because of the bad weather.


Read the text below.
China plans to reach new heights by creating its largest airliner.

The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) is tasked to build the airliner called C919. Known as having the world’s second largest economy, China hopes that this new passenger plane can compete with airline powerhouses Boeing [BOU-ing] of the United States and Airbus [AIR-buhs] of Europe. 

While the overall cost of the plane’s construction is still unknown, COMAC officials admit that building C919 will be a big challenge. One COMAC representative even provided a comparison, saying that Boeing and Airbus are already experts in plane manufacturing while COMAC is still fresh in the field. Nonetheless, COMAC stays confident that the project will succeed since they have full support from the Chinese government.

According to COMAC, the C919 can accommodate a maximum of 174 passengers and travel up to 5,555 kilometers. The plane will be China’s largest commercial airliner. COMAC plans to have C919’s first takeoff by the end of 2015 and to have its first sales by 2018.

In May 2014, China’s president Xi Jinping [SHEE jin-PING] visited COMAC’s construction facility and even sat in the C919 model’s pilot seat. He insisted that the state needs to have its own large airliner. But despite claims of being self-manufactured, some of C919’s systems and engines come from the French-American aerospace manufacturer CFM International.

To date, COMAC has 400 preorders for the C919, which come mostly from domestic leasing firms. However, airline companies are expected to remain reluctant on ordering C919 until the US Federal Aviation Administration gives certification on COMAC’s project.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Why do you think China decided to develop its own largest commercial airplane?
·         Do you think C919 will be a success? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         Why do you think travel by airplane is expensive?
·         Where would you want to travel by airplane? Kindly discuss.

October 25, 2014