Singapore- China’s aviation regulator has granted a key certificate to the country’s first domestic narrow-gauge airliner, Xinhua news agency reported on Friday, clearing one of the main regulatory hurdles to the start of passenger transport. Xinhua said the China C919 jet Commercial Aircraft Corp received its “type certificate” from the Civil Aviation Administration of China this month, without giving a date. This means that it has met the country’s business requirements.
This is a big step towards delivering jet aircraft to customers. Under CAAC regulations, a type certificate, along with a number of additional ratings, is the first of three required before an aircraft can carry passengers. The first delivery is set for this year, Xinhua reported.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping met with the C919 group in the Hall of the People in Beijing on Friday, according to Xinhua. Xi said the project is the country’s dream and he called for pooling the country’s resources and strength to conquer nuclear technology.
The latest C919 certification marks a major step forward in Beijing’s efforts to challenge Boeing Co. and the Airbus SE duopoly, as well as a reality check on how far we still have to go to close the gap.
The aircraft, designed and assembled in China, seats up to 168 passengers and has a maximum range of approximately 3450 miles, making it one of the workhorses of global aviation in the short and medium-haul category.
China Eastern Airlines Corp. will deliver the first C919 this year and four more in 2023. The C919 is priced at about $99 million, less than the average cost of about $128 million for the Airbus A320neo jets the airline bought in July. In addition to prices, reliability, safety records—which take years to build—and operating costs are key factors for airlines when purchasing aircraft.