Time flies. In May last year, the C919, made in China, made its first flight from Pudong Airport. This opened a new chapter in Chinese aviation industry. What is the latest update on the aircraft one year after it has been launched ?
So far, there have been 28 domestic and international buyers of the C919, with a total of 815 orders. China has not worried about the number of orders for its domestically developed passenger jet. To show support for the domestic civil aviation industry, Chinese airline and leasing companies have been placing huge orders ahead of schedule. At present, the 200 C919 included in the agreement between HNA and COMAC have not been finalised. However, the market expects the 200 C919 to eventually turn into actual order, with the number of orders expecting to hit the 1000 mark in the future. The orders are mostly from domestic users, but some are from the United States and Southeast Asian Countries.
When will C919 be delivered? This is a question that many people want to know. All large passenger aircraft, from design to first flight to delivery, will go through a long process. Currently, the C919 is undergoing a series of test flights and the whole process is not so smooth. According to Air Transport World’s report, the C919 prototype had been grounded after tests found that its lifter, which uses carbon fiber composites, had peeled off. Grounding in the international aviation community is a routine procedure to ensure aircraft safety, its scope and time will be different. But it doesn’t mean stop. Moreover, the process of finding and solving the problem is inevitable.
Regarding certification, both European and Chinese certifications have been launched and it is expected to be certified in China within 3-4 years, while U.S. aviation safety regulators have yet to initiate the process. COMAC is already in contact with U.S. authorities. Jian Li, deputy director of the civil aviation administration of China (CAAC), also pledged his full support and service to COMAC and revealed that COMAC aims to have the C919 certified by the end of 2020 and deliver the first C919 to users by 2021.
Zhen Jiang (COMAC Senior Sales Manager), Elaine He (Brookfield International Business Manager) and Binhui Li ( COMAC COMMERCIAL Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd.)
There wouldn't be much time left for COMAC to deliver in 2021 as pilot training is on the agenda. At the Farnborough Air Show, 2018. I met with COMAC’s Marketing & Sales Department Senior Sales Manager and discussed the training of personnel of the C919 aircraft. According to Zhen Jiang, COMAC has a special training program for the pilot, and many other type-rated pilots can be transferred to the C919 type. As the C919 has not been finally delivered and the training system will be improved, COMAC currently do not accept individual applications. In addition, due to the huge order volume of domestic airlines, they will contact COMAC and train and certify the existing pilots in batches initially. It will reduce the cost of time and personnel.
The C919 still has a long way to go, let’s wait and see!
See previous C919 article here