Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC) has almost finalised the design of its new C919 narrow-bodied jet, and now awaits final flight testing to be completed by Chinese regulators.
COMAC confirmed on Friday that it was nearly the final completion of its C919 jets, the Chinese planemakers answer to the globally popular Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 families.
COMAC also announced that the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has officially issued the C919’s Type Inspection Authorisation, meaning there could no longer be major adjustments to the aircraft structure.
The planemaker said it expects to obtain an airworthiness certificate for the C919 from the CAAC sometime in 2021, which will allow it to begin delivering the jet to domestic airlines within China.
Currently, China Eastern Airlines subsidiary OTT Airlines is scheduled to be the first customer to take delivery of its orders on the C919.
In 2018, the Chinese planemaker had 305 firm orders plus 45 options, as well as 658 letters of intent, for a total of 1,008 commitments on the C919.
The new jet will compete in the same market as the embattled Boeing 737 MAX, which was grounded around the world for 20 months following two fatal crashes.
While regulators in the US have welcomed the return of the MAX, following rigorous safety upgrades and testing, China has made no mention of if and when it intends to return the jet to commercial service.