China’s new passenger aircraft, the COMAC C919, could make its maiden flight in the first half of this year, it has been revealed.
The state-run People’s Daily reported a senior official with COMAC, the Shanghai-based planemaker, as saying that the first C919 is now complete and has undergone ground tests. The next phase of the development programme is flight tests.
“We tested the whole aircraft and its key components and connecting parts,” Li Qiang of COMAC’s Design and Research Center was quoted saying.
With a capacity of up to 174 seats, the C919 is billed as being China’s answer to the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 – the Western-built single-aisle jets that dominate the short- and medium-haul markets.
To date, COMAC has sold more than 200 C919s, mostly to Chinese airlines and leasing companies. Air China, China Southern, China Eastern and Hainan Airlines have each committed to 20 C919s.