China’s C919 Getting Close to Begin Commercial Flights

China’s domestically manufactured C919 narrow-body commercial airplane, touted as a rival to the Airbus-Boeing duopoly, is getting close to a certification as its tests completed all of the flight tasks. The plane’s manufacturer, state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC) said in a social media statement that the six test planes finished testing tasks and entered the final stage of getting a certificate from the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

That would mark a milestone in China’s ambitions to climb up the manufacturing supply chain.

The C919 aircraft programme, designed to compete directly with the Boeing 737 MAX and Airbus 320neo families, has faced a range of technical issues and tougher U.S. export controls after being launched in 2008.

State-owned China Eastern Airlines was designated as the launch customer. The airline placed an order of five C919s in March last year. The first delivery is scheduled in August.

While the plane is assembled in China, it relies heavily on Western components, including engines and avionics.

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