COMAC’s fourth C919 prototype completes first test flight

C919 aircraft from COMAC ©AirTeamImages

Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC) has announced that its fourth prototype of the C919 narrow-body twin-engine passenger jet has successfully completed its first test flight.

The plane took off from Shanghai and lasted 1 hour 25 minutes. COMAC is looking to challenge Airbus and Boeing with its home-grown commercial jet. The company confirmed that its fifth and sixth prototypes are scheduled for their maiden test flights later on this year, while the third prototype first flew in December 2018. COMAC is hoping to obtain type certification by the end of 2020, but certain analysts consider this an optimistic target considering that the C919 has flown very few hours since its maiden flight in 2017.

By August 2018 there were 305 firm orders and options for a further 45, mainly from Chinese carriers, including Air China and China Eastern Airlines. COMAC is aiming to capture 20% of the global narrow-body market and a third of the Chinese market and anticipates sales of 2,000 units over the next 20 years.

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