MIAMI – COMAC (Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China) has received the type inspection authorization for its C919 narrowbody program, paving the way for final flight testing and certification.
This week, flightglobal.com reports that the authorization, issued by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) on November 27, means that the aircraft design is finalized and verified. Thus, no major changes can be made to its structure.
COMAC also hopes to receive the C919’s airworthiness certificate from the CAAC by next year, allowing it to commence deliveries to Chinese carriers. Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines (MU) is the launch customer for the type.
According to COMAC, the fleet of six C919 prototypes is currently in various parts of China conducting certification test flights. It notes that the test fleet will carry out “more intensive flight test missions” on its path towards certification.
C919 vs B737 and A320
The COMAC C919 is a narow-body twinjet. Its development program launched in 2008 and production of the prototype began in December 2011. The first prototype emerged on November 2, 2015 and flew its maiden flight on May 5, 2017.
The C919 is constructed of mainly aluminum alloys. Either CFM International LEAP or ACAE CJ-1000A turbofan engines will supply the power. It will carry 156 to 168 passengers in normal operating configurations and fly up to 5,555 km (3,000NM).
COMAC hopes the C919 will compete with the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 family. Original service entry date was estimated to be 2020-2021 to 2021-2022.
COMAC and China Express Partnership
This website reported in June that China Express Airlines (G5) had entered a partnership with COMAC and had agreed to purchase 100 ARJ21 and C919 aircraft. Numbers of each type were not revealed.
Fleet data from Cirium, the industry data analytics firm, shows that there are 305 firm orders for the C919. COMAC has also secured more than 700 commitments for the CFM International Leap-1C-powered aircraft. At this point, only carriers in China have placed orders.
Photo: COMAC C919. Photo: Wiki Commons