A C919 aircraft is seen outside a hangar at the manufacturing base of Commercial Aircraft Corp of China in Shanghai. The country's homegrown passenger jet is likely to receive airworthiness certification from the European regulator, a key step to enter the Western market. (Xinhua)
China's homegrown passenger jet C919 is likely to receive airworthiness certification from the European aviation safety regulator, a key step for the narrow-body aircraft to enter the Western market, officials said yesterday.
Patrick Ky, executive director of the European Aviation Safety Agency, said at an inaugural session of an aviation safety conference in Shanghai yesterday that certifying the C919 was part of ongoing talks for a bilateral air safety agreement between the two regions.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China is conducting airworthiness tests on the C919, said Li Jian, deputy director of CAAC.
The airworthiness tests measure the aircraft's suitability for safe flight, and the airworthiness certificate is issued by the national aviation regulator.
Once the EASA certifies the C919's airworthiness, the single-aisle aircraft can be sold to European countries. China and the United States are also negotiating a bilateral airworthiness agreement, the CAAC has said.
The aircraft has completed 118 tests, including 21 taxiing tests, and is ready for its maiden flight, He Dongfeng, general manager of the Commercial Aircraft Corp of China, told the conference.
Shanghai Airport Authority said the plane's maiden flight is scheduled for early May.
The C919, with 168 seats and a range of 5,000 kilometers, will compete with the updated Airbus A320 and Boeing's new-generation 737.