Photo: @ AINonline
Comac has set Friday 5 May for the first flight of its C919 narrowbody, with foreign guests already flying into Shanghai for the event.
The Chinese manufacturer had previously planned the flight for 6 May, but sources say that this has since been shifted to 5 May. Saturday 6 May now serves as a backup, should the aircraft be unable to fly the day earlier. Weather on both days is forecasted to be sunny.
A ceremony with about 2,000 guests will be held near Shanghai Pudong International airport’s fourth runway to witness the flight. Several of the country’s political heavyweights are also expected to be in attendance.
Comac received a special flight permit from the Civil Aviation Administration of China on 22 April, as well as a temporary civil aircraft registration and an aircraft station licence. The flight permit and the station licence both expire on 31 May.
The European Aviation Safety Agency has also started work on certifying the C919, and it held a safety conference in Shanghai together with the CAAC on 28 April. FlightGlobal reported last November that Comac has submitted an application for type certification of the C919 with EASA, via the Chinese regulator.
This confirms Comac’s move away from the US Federal Aviation Administration for western certification of its in-development narrowbody, and signals its intent to market the C919 internationally. The US regulator has yet to certify the ARJ21 regional jet, despite years of shadowing the CAAC.
Comac has since secured 570 commitments for the C919, with China Eastern Airlines to be its launch customer.