Caixin
Dec 17, 2020 04:37 AM
BUSINESS & TECH

China’s Home-Grown Boeing Challenger Moves Toward Commercial Launch

Under development since 2008, the C919 made its first test flight in May 2017 with six prototype airplanes.
Under development since 2008, the C919 made its first test flight in May 2017 with six prototype airplanes.

What’s new: China's home-grown C919 narrow-body passenger jet entered the final stage of test flights before commercial delivery, a senior official at China’s Civil Aviation Administration (CAAC) said Wednesday.

The C919, a single-aisle medium-haul aircraft, completed key flying tests and entered the stage of assessment to obtain airworthiness certification, said Yang Zhenmei, deputy director of the Aircraft Airworthiness Certification Department of the CAAC.

Regulators will examine the plane’s safety under various flight conditions to decide whether it can be approved for commercial delivery. The CAAC didn’t provide a timetable to clear the C919 for commercial operation.

The background: Developed by state-owned aircraft maker Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China (COMAC), the C919 targets the same market as the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737, the two best-selling commercial aircraft. The plane is designed to seat about 150 passengers.

Under development since 2008, the C919 made its first test flight in May 2017 with six prototype airplanes operating in different regions across China. A former deputy CAAC chief said in 2018 that the C919 was set to obtain airworthiness certification by the end of 2020, a target that has been slightly delayed. COMAC received 815 orders for the C919 from 28 domestic and foreign customers, media reported in May.

Apart of the C919, COMAC is also designing the country’s first long-haul, wide-body jetliner in partnership with Russian aerospace conglomerate United Aircraft Corp.

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use. To read the full story in Chinese, click here.

Contact reporter Han Wei (weihan@caixin.com) and editor Bob Simison (bobsimison@caixin.com).

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