China’s Commercial Aircraft Corp. (COMAC) is planning a 2017 first quarter inaugural flight for the C919 narrowbody, although no more specific date has been given.
The 158-seat airliner has seen several delays. The original schedule would have seen the aircraft make its maiden flight in 2014 followed by delivery to Chengdu Airlines. But program delays meant the aircraft was not rolled out until October 2015 and at that point COMAC said it was aiming for a first flight in 2016.
China Eastern will now be the launch customer. With the first aircraft delivered to COMAC’s flight test center, however, the manufacturer is looking to begin flights in the first quarter.
The C919 has secured 570 orders from 23 Chinese and foreign customers.
COMAC has set targets of taking a third of the Chinese narrowbody market and a fifth of the global market by 2035.The manufacturer has committed to producing between 20 and 50 C919s annually and to increasing production capability to 150 C919s and 50 ARJ21 regional aircraft annually by 2020.