China’s COMAC C919 aircraft deliveries are expected to start in 2022, the airline’s deputy general manager Wu Yongliang revealed in an interview with state-controlled media outlet, The Paper.
In the interview, which took place on January 19, 2022, Wu also said that C919 aircraft development program is under control and “all work is progressing in an orderly manner”.
However, the aircraft, which aimed for local certification in 2021, is yet to be certified by Chinese aviation regulator. In December 2021, a Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) official, Yang Zhenmei, told Reuters that only 34 certification tests out of 276 have been completed.
The C919 aircraft is a narrowbody developed by Chinese aircraft manufacturer COMAC. The first C919 was rolled out in 2015. The C919 was initially supposed to enter commercial service in 2016 but it was delayed due to technical difficulties and supply issues.
The narrowbody, which is destined to compete against the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX, made its first test flight in 2017. But now the COMAC C919 aircraft, which has been in development for approximately 13 years, aims for local certification in 2022.
The C919 has a range of 4,075 to 5,555 kilometers, and a capability to seat up to 168 passengers. Currently, a total of 815 C919 provisional orders have been obtained from 28 customers, COMAC data shows.
The first C919 is bound to be delivered to launch customer China Eastern Airlines (CIAH) (CEA). In March 2021, China Eastern Airlines (CIAH) (CEA) signed a purchase contract with COMAC to acquire five C919 airliners. The Shanghai-based carrier will become the first operator of C919 aircraft in the world.