Chinese manufacturer COMAC has received type inspection authorization for its newest airliner, the C919, and now aims to start deliveries in 2021.
The approval letter was received in a ceremonial meeting between the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) and COMAC on November 27, 2020, according to the company’s press release.
It means that the design of the aircraft is finalized and no major modifications can take place. It also marks the official entry of the program into the flight certification stage.
Six C919 prototypes are currently completed, according to COMAC. They are undergoing pre-certification flights in various locations across China, including Nanchang, the capital of Jiangxi Province, where the ceremony took place.
According to the director of the certification center of CAAC, the administration cooperated with COMAC ever since the start of the C919 program in 2008, helping to ensure safety of the new airliner.
In 2011, COMAC applied for the type certificate of the C919. But the development of the aircraft was plagued with delays and the maiden flight of the aircraft was conducted only in 2017, three years later than initially planned.
Currently, the company hopes to receive the certificate within a year, and start deliveries of the new aircraft to airlines in 2021.
The C919 is the first Chinese independently developed large narrow-body aircraft, designed to seat between 158 and 168 passengers. It is supposed to break Airbus and Boeing duopoly in the market, competing with the best-selling models of both companies: the A320 and the 737.