The C919 single-aisle commercial jet is expected to have its first aircraft delivered in 2021, according to the China Eastern Airlines results report, released on Tuesday.
The Chinese carrier hopes to have the first COMAC aircraft this year, while another two C919 will be delivered in 2022 and two more in 2023.
China Eastern has an order for 20 C919 aircraft. The group that controls the airline announced last year that its subsidiary OTT Airlines will be tasked with debuting the new COMAC jet.
Despite the delay in development, the C919 is expected to receive certification from China’s civil aviation authority by the end of this year.
The C919 is China’s most ambitious commercial aircraft program, launched in 2008, but which has suffered enormous delays. The narrowbody jetliner has similarities to the Airbus A320, offering up to 168 single-class seats.
The first flight took place in May 2017 and six test aircraft are currently undergoing the certification program. The C919 uses a LEAP-1C turbofan, supplied by CFM, however, a US trade blockade could interrupt supply in the future.
For this reason, the Chinese government is developing a local alternative, the ACAE CJ-1000A engine, considered a copy of Western turbofans.
COMAC does not detail its backlog, but claims to have 815 orders for the aircraft.