MIAMI — The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) pushed forward the maiden sortie of its C919 narrowbody jetliner to Friday, May 5, 2017, if weather conditions allow so.

The event will be held in the premises of COMAC, located in Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport fourth runway. The company has invited over 2,000 guests, including China’s political representatives.

Last April 22, COMAC received a special flight permit from the Civil Aviation Administration of China, as well as a temporary civil aircraft registration and an aircraft station license. The flight permit and the station license will expire on May 31.

The taxi roll tests began in December 2016, with 14 sessions in 35 successfully completed hours. These tests concluded last April 16, with the high-speed taxi test which took the aircraft to speeds of up to 170 kmh to assess the functionality of the spoilers and braking systems.

In a Safety conference held in Shanghai on April 28, it was announced that the European Aviation Safety Agency has started the certification of the C919. This confirms COMAC’S move away from the US Federal Aviation Administration for western certification of the narrowbody, and further confirms the intentions of the airframer to offer the C919 to foreign customers.

To date, a total of 570 firm and commitment orders from 23 customers have been placed for the C919. Most of the order book consists of government-backed Chinese carriers, and its launch customer is expected to be China Eastern Airlines.

COMAC expects to gain one-third of the single-aisle aircraft market share in China and a fifth of the global market by 2035. The objective of the airframer is to build between 20 and 50 C919s per year, and by 2020 to reach a production rate of up to 150 C919s and 50 ARJ21s annually.