China’s new passenger aircraft, which is being billed as a rival to the Boeing 737 or Airbus A320, is preparing for its maiden flight.
Xinhua reported Shanghai-based manufacturer, COMAC, as revealing this week that the C919 aircraft has passed an “expert assessment” and has been given the go-ahead to begin a series of high-speed taxiing tests – the last step before its maiden flight. The process usually takes one to two months.
The C919 is a single-aisle passenger jet with a capacity of approximately 150 passengers – similar to the smaller versions of the 737 and A320 series’ and Bombardier’s new CS300.
So far, COMAC has received orders for more than 500 C919s, mainly from Chinese leasing companies. But major Chinese airlines including Air China, China Southern, China Eastern and Hainan Airlines have all committed to the aircraft.