China’s COMAC delays maiden test flight
Aug. 8, 2013, Shanghai, China - The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) has delayed the maiden test flight of its first large passenger aircraft C919 to 2015 due to development difficulties.
The Shanghai-based aircraft manufacturer initially scheduled the C919 maiden flight for 2014, following the approval from Chinese regulators in 2007 to build the commercial jetliner.
Based on the current status of the C919 programme, it is not possible to conduct the first test flight in 2014 as planned and the first delivery of C919 may also be delayed, reported the China Daily citing sources familiar with the matter.
COMAC may officially notify suppliers about the delay as early as this month.
C919 programme advisory committee of experts director Zhang Yanzhong said that while the project faced difficulties due to the manufacturer's current levels of technical expertise, the setbacks encountered were not major.
"Generally speaking, the project is going well now," Zhang said.
"The 168-seater C919 development is part of China-backed COMAC's efforts to break the duopoly of aviation giants Airbus and Boeing in the segment."
The 168-seater C919 development is part of China-backed COMAC's efforts to break the duopoly of aviation giants Airbus and Boeing in the segment.
The C919 would compete with Boeing 737 and Airbus A320.
While the C919 will feature 'Chinese characteristics', overseas technology will be used for key components, including the engines and central wing box, which secures the wing in the body, according to COMAC.
Powered by two CFM International LEAP 1C engines, the C919 will be available in different variants including basic, extended, shortened, cargo, special version and corporate.
As of 2012, Comac has logged around 380 commitments for the C919 with majority clients being Chinese airlines and lessors.