China’s Comac C919 Obtains CAAC Certification

The certification, which was announced in a ceremony in Beijing, greenlights operations and airline deliveries of the C919 airliner.

The Commercial Aircraft Corps of China’s (Comac) C919 narrowbody has obtained certification from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), advancing the twin-engine airliner a step closer to entering service, and setting the stage for a new rivalry with Boeing (NYSE: BA) and Airbus.

The certification, which was announced late last week in a ceremony in Beijing, greenlights operations and airline deliveries of the aircraft that has been in development for more than a decade. With a capacity of 168 passengers, the aircraft aims to compete with the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320 families of aircraft.

Four Chinese airlines, along with 13 leasing organizations, have placed orders for the C919, Airways Magazine reported. Among them is China Eastern Airlines, which has agreed to purchase five C919s, COMAC said. The Chinese airline is to receive the first of those five aircraft by the end of the year.

In May, the C919 made its first pre-delivery test flight—a three-hour flight at Shanghai Pudong International Airport (ZSPD), the main hub for launch customer China Eastern Airlines. The flight followed months of certification delays that pushed the aircraft’s expected entry into service to later this year, according to Reuters.

The jet seats from 158 to 174 passengers and is designed for a range of up to 5,555 km (2,999 nm).

Thom Patterson contributed.

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