China moves forward with C919, aims at certification in 2021

Kovankin Sergey

The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) declared that the fourth prototype of the state-developed C919 large passenger aircraft successfully completed its first test flight, moving closer to certification and deliveries of the jetliner.

According to COMAC, On August 1st, 2019, the C919 AC104 took off from the fourth runway of Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) at 5:32 am (GMT+8) and successfully landed at 6:57 am (GMT+8).  AC104 performed flight testings on the avionics system, take-off/landing performance, automatic flight system, and natural icing.

As of now, four aircraft are being tested: the AC104 is the fourth C919 flight-test aircraft after AC101, AC102, and AC103, which have conducted static and other ground verification tests

According to, COMAC plans to deploy two more test aircraft during the second half of this year.

The twin-engine single-aisle C919 is able to carry 158 to 168 passengers in a normal operating configuration and has a range of 2,532 to 3,451 miles (4,075 to 5,555 kilometers). A spokesperson for COMAC confirmed to AeroTime the jetliner will be powered by CFM International LEAP engines.

A total of 815 orders for the C919 have been placed by 28 customers, COMAC states. Another 30 new orders were received from China Huarong Financial Leasing on March 4, 2018.

 First delivery of C919 pushed for 2021

The C919 will take about three to four years to get certification for airworthiness from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), as Lu Zheng, deputy general manager of sales at COMAC, said in an interview at the Singapore Airshow on February 6, 2018.

China established COMAC in May 2008, announcing plans to produce its first commercial jetliner, named the C919.In April 2009, the state-run company finished the initial design. 

Provisional plans were to send the jet on its maiden flight in 2014 already. However, production issues withheld the plane’s maiden flight at least twice since 2014, pushing first delivery dates even further.

The C919 was presented to the public for the first time in November 2015, at a roll-out ceremony in Shanghai. In May 2017, the first prototype C919 successfully performed its maiden flight. COMAC is currently targeting 2021 for the first delivery of the aircraft.

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