Despite flying since May 2017 and having six test aircraft, the C919 jetliner has not yet obtained type certification from the CAAC, Civil Aviation Administration of China.
Until the middle of the year, the plan was that the COMAC aircraft would be homologated at the end of 2021, opening the way for the beginning of revenue operation in the near future.
However, the Chinese regulatory authority confirmed last week that the C919 is not expected to complete its certification until 2022. The information was shared by CAAC chief executive Yang Zhenmei on Friday at an aviation forum in Shanghai.
Zhenmei revealed that the C919 prototypes made just 34 certification flights as of early December, when 276 takeoffs would be required.
Until then, it was expected that the first commercial jet would be delivered to OTT Airlines, a subsidiary of China Eastern Airlines, the only airline to sign a purchase agreement for the C919, with five aircraft.
In November, C919’s chief designer, Wu Guanhua, proposed that the program be given more funding and a larger workforce, as well as prioritizing testing to complete certification.
The C919 is the largest commercial aircraft ever developed in China, with a capacity similar to the Airbus A320, and the first to be completely designed in the country. COMAC also produces the ARJ21-700, a regional jet based on the former US MD-95.