China commercial jet program C919 completes first successful test flight

China aims to certify the plane as air worthy by the end of 2020 – a target analysts view as highly ambitious given that the flight time of the test planes.

On Thursday, in a significant development, China flew the fourth prototype of its home-built C919 narrowbody passenger plane which completed its first test flight.

China is pushing to develop its own passenger jet in order to reduce dependency on Airbus SE’s and Boeing Co’s jets.

According to a statement by Commercial Aircraft Corp of China Ltd (COMAC), the flight test lasted for 1 hour and 25 minutes. The project’s fifth and sixth test planes are scheduled to fly later during the second half of this year.

The project’s third C919 prototype conducted its first test flight in December 2018.

Commercial Aircraft Corp is aiming to get certification for the plane from Chinese regulators by the end of 2020. Analysts consider this target to be ambitious given that test planes have flown relatively few hours since the first C919 plane took off in 2017.

Incidentally, the C919 program has dozens of customers, mostly Chinese, who have placed orders and have made commitments for more than 800 jets.

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