The Chinese produced C919 jet has completed all the test flights needed to obtain an airworthiness certificate from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), said the planemaker on Monday.
The Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC), a state-owned aerospace manufacturer, made the announcement on its official WeChat account, accompanied by an image of the plane. The passenger plane had Chinese characters “Congratulating C919 for completing all test flights before obtaining a certificate” written in white on its body.
After beginning production in December 2011, the first C919 prototype rolled off the assembly line in November 2015 and completed its inaugural flight over Shanghai in May 2017.
The company plans to secure certification from China’s aviation regulator and start deliveries of the C919 jet, built to rival the industry’s top planemakers – Boeing and Airbus.
According to the Chinese media Global Times report, there are three certificates required for the delivery of an aircraft in China.
One is a type certificate, which indicates that the model design of the aircraft meets requirements; the second is a production certification, which indicates that the manufacturing of the aircraft meets national standards; the third is an individual aircraft certificate, indicating that each plane delivered to airlines complies with requirements.
The latest announcement confirms that COMAC has submitted the test results to the country’s aviation authority.
The planemaker is now waiting for approval of a Comac-type certificate, Lin Zhijie, an independent market watcher, told the GT.
After Comac gets the type certificate, the C919 plane is likely to receive the other two certificates in a short time, Lin added.
Obtaining the three certificates means that the plane is certified to fly, a prerequisite for entering a commercial flight.
Observers say the C919 is expected to be put into commercial operation in 2023 “if everything goes smoothly.”
The C919 is widely believed to aim to challenge the Airbus-Boeing duopoly in the civil aviation industry of the world. However, the company claims that it’s too early to say if a new plane can challenge the Airbus-Boeing duopoly.
“Our current job is to build the plane, and make it fly safely and reliably,” Lin said, adding it will take about 20 years to see if the plane can compete with Airbus and Boeing.
China Eastern Airlines is expected to be the C919’s launch customer, which has a firm order for five jets. Comac also has received 815 orders for the C919 from 28 customers worldwide.
Featured Image Comac C919. [Photo Global Times]