Two C919 passenger jets arrive in Beijing, as certification expected this month

2022-09-14 Global Times Editor:Li Yan

Two C919 jets, China's first self-developed trunk jetliner, arrived in Beijing on Tuesday, in a move that observers described as preparation for final certification from China's civil aviation regulator, which could come as soon as this month.   

The planes, with the registration numbers of B-001F and B-001J, flew from the Shanghai Pudong International Airport and arrived at the Beijing Capital International Airport at 10:51 am and 11:24 am, according to information provider VariFlight.

The C919 is expected to be certified soon, an insider close to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) told the Global Times on Tuesday, adding that the plane is close to starting commercial flights.

It may win a type certificate (TC) and a production certificate (PC) at the same time, Wang Ya'nan, chief editor of Beijing-based Aerospace Knowledge magazine, told the Global Times on Tuesday. After the flight test and other verification stages, it will receive its airworthiness certificate - the final step before commercial flight, according to Wang.

There are three certificates required for the delivery of an aircraft in China. One is a TC, which indicates that the model design of the aircraft meets requirements. The second is a PC, which indicates that the manufacturing of the aircraft meets national standards, and the third is an aircraft certificate (AC), which means the aircraft is safe to operate.

These are all given by the CAAC, and all three are needed for commercial operations. Normally, it takes the most time and effort to obtain the TC and PC.

The Beijing-based China Times reported that the C919 is expected to gain the AC on September 19, or 9/19, a day with symbolic meaning.

The Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC), the planemaker, said on August 1 that the C919 had completed all the test flights needed to obtain an airworthiness certificate from the CAAC, another milestone in the rapid development of the country's first domestic passenger jet.

Since July, frequent test flights have been carried out at many domestic airports, which analysts said built up experience for routes among domestic airports. 

Data from VariFlight sent to the Global Times showed that the C919 has flown to 18 cities in China in 2022.

The plane conducted a successful maiden flight in 2017, and six C919 aircraft have been tested and certified in different subjects in Shanghai Pudong, Shaanxi Yanliang, Jiangxi Nanchang, Shandong Dongying, Inner Mongolia Xilinhot, Xinjiang Turpan, and Gansu Dunhuang airports in the past five years.

COMAC has received 815 orders for the C919 from 28 customers worldwide.

The C919 is fitted with 158-168 seats with a range of 4,075-5,555 kilometers. Final assembly of the C919 was completed in November 2015, and the maiden flight was in May 2017. 

In May 2022, the first C919 to be delivered to China Eastern Airlines with registration number B-001J completed its maiden test flight in Shanghai.

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