BEIJING, CHINA — A Milestone for Chinese Aviation: China's first B737 and A30 rival passenger jet embarks on maiden commercial flight.

China's first domestically manufactured passenger airplane, the C919, embarked on its maiden commercial flight, marking a significant stride toward the country's technological self-reliance after years of project delays.

The single-aisle C919 completed its inaugural flight from Shanghai to Beijing on Sunday, following over a decade of development and an estimated $72 billion in backing from Beijing.

The successful flight underscores the ambitions of China's leader, Xi Jinping, to achieve technological self-sufficiency amid escalating trade tensions with the United States. While still a long-term prospect, the emergence of a Chinese passenger jet industry could potentially challenge the Boeing-Airbus duopoly.

The C919 was constructed by government-supported aerospace titan Comac, and the inaugural flight was operated by the national airline, China Eastern. Local media celebrated the event as "a day to remember," highlighting that Comac had amassed more than 1,000 orders from 32 customers by the end of 2022.

"The successful development of the C919 indicates that China has the ability to independently develop large passenger aircraft," stated Xinhua, the state news agency.

Despite the project's inception in 2008 and an initial planned maiden flight in 2014, anticipation has surged in recent months as the jet received regulatory endorsement in China and neared commercial deployment.

In October, President Xi commended the C919 development team at Beijing's Great Hall of the People, hailing the group as the "backbone" of the country and "heroes."

"Having Chinese airliners fly in the sky embodies the will of our country, the dream of our nation and the expectations of our people," Xi stated, adding that advances in domestic manufacturing would "help realize the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation."

Analysts anticipate that Comac will gradually erode the market share of Boeing and Airbus in China's enormous aviation market and in select developing nations. However, the C919 has yet to receive regulatory approval in the United States or Europe.

They also note that the aircraft depends on Western suppliers for critical components, suggesting that the aviation sector might become entangled in stricter controls on technology exports from the US to China, which have already impacted the country's chipmakers.

Airline safety has been under increased scrutiny in China since last March, following the crash of China Eastern Airlines flight MU5735, a Boeing 737 carrying 132 passengers, in the southern Guangxi region, resulting in all aboard perishing.

As the C919 ascended on Sunday, state media emphasized the jet's safety credentials, which include tests in extreme natural conditions such as high temperatures, high humidity, severe cold, gusts, and freezing conditions.

"Comprehensive assessments have confirmed its safety, reliability, and environmental protection performance," Xinhua reported.