Jet: Test flight due this year
According to COMAC’s original schedule, the plane should have made its maiden flight last year, but this had to be postponed because of a lack of experience among Chinese engineers and because of technical obstacles, according to project managers.
In May, President Xi Jinping said China must have its own large passenger jet no matter how difficult the process.
COMAC said that if the test flights are satisfactory, the first planes will be delivered to customers in 2017. The company has secured 450 orders from 18 customers.
Tian Min, a COMAC executive, said many new materials and manufacturing techniques have been used on the C919. However, they make the project more complex and riskier, and it will also take longer to test their reliability.