China's C919 narrowbody jet: from drawing board to certification

09/29/2022 | 07:56am

BEIJING/SYDNEY (Reuters) - China's long-awaited C919 narrowbody jet was certified by the country's aviation regulator on Thursday, photos showed, representing a milestone in its ambitions to challenge the Western duopoly of Airbus and Boeing in commercial aerospace.

These are key events in the run-up to the jet's certification to pave the way for future commercial operations.

May 2008: China establishes Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) in Shanghai and announces plans to produce its first large commercial jetliner, which it calls the C919.

April 2009: COMAC finishes the C919's initial design and says it aims to send the jet on its maiden flight in 2014, according to the state-owned Beijing News.

Sept. 2009: COMAC unveils a model of the C919 aircraft for the first time at the Asian Aerospace Expo in Hong Kong.

Nov. 2010: China announces the C919 has received its first order - a deal for 100 planes to several Chinese and international customers.Oct. 2013: Local media reports the C919's first flight will be delayed by a year until 2015, pushing first delivery dates to around 2017 or 2018.

May 2014: Chinese President Xi Jinping visits COMAC's offices and says large jets are a reflection of China's national capabilities and urges the development of a competitive aviation industry.

Feb. 2015: Xinhua reports COMAC has completed the basic assembly of its medium-range C919 large passenger aircraft and will launch test flights that year.July 2015: COMAC delays the C919's maiden flight which was scheduled to fly by end-2015.

Nov. 2015: COMAC unveils the C919 in public for the first time in a roll-out ceremony broadcast over state media.

March 2017: Xinhua news agency reports the C919 is ready for take-off.

May 2017: The jet makes its maiden flight on May 5.

Dec. 2017: COMAC says the second jet completed its first flight.

March 2021: China Eastern Airlines signs a contact with COMAC for the purchase of five C919 jets.

Dec. 2021: China's aviation regulator says a huge amount of testing work was still needed before the C919 could be certified, meaning the certification - once expected by the end of 2020 - would again be delayed.

Aug. 2022: COMAC says the C919 completed all test flight tasks.

Sept. 2022: China Eastern said it expects to receive one C919 this year, down from three forecast previously.

(Reporting by Sophie Yu in Beijing and Jamie Freed in Sydney; Editing by Gerry Doyle and David Goodman)

Reuters 2022
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