June 21, 2024

Chinese passenger airline: COMAC hopes to achieve C919 certification in Europe next year

The Chinese manufacturer hopes the Boeing and Airbus rival will be approved in Europe as early as 2025. But there are still some hurdles Comac has to overcome with the C919.

The C919 has been carrying passengers for a year – but so far only in China. The Chinese passenger plane was developed by COMAC to disrupt the monopoly of Airbus and Boeing. But in order to do this successfully, it first needs the approval of foreign authorities. And they take their time with it.

But people in China are sure that it will not take long. In Europe in particular, people are hoping for an early green light from the Issa’s approval body. “We are very much looking forward to obtaining the certification next year,” Gu Xin, director of the Certification Center of the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC), was quoted as saying by the South China Morning Post. We are working hard to achieve this goal.

Earlier than is known

This is a year earlier than was previously known. There were also doubts about the 2026 date, which had previously been mentioned as a target by China. In March, Luc Tytgat, then the agency’s director, told Reuters news agency that the C919 was “so new to us that we can’t know how easy or difficult it will be to approve it” in 2026.

His deputy expressed this somewhat more cautiously to the same newspaper. “COMAC still hopes to achieve certification in 2025,” says J. Guinn. “But there are some discrepancies in standards and methodology between CAAC and EASA.”

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Different standards

In China, for example, there are no regulations similar to those in Europe regarding ultra-cold water droplets that lead to ice or volcanic ash. Authorities in Europe and the United States are also taking different approaches to new systems that detect and mitigate human errors. However, CAAC is currently improving its security protocols to be compatible with Easaher.

The Comac C919 is 39 meters long and has a wingspan of 35.8 metres. The aircraft’s cockpit is deliberately modeled after the Airbus A320 – for example, there are side beams instead of control horns (see video). According to the manufacturer, pilots need only three days to retrain from one model to another.

Already 1000 orders

The Comac C919 is powered by two Leap-1C engines from the French-American manufacturer CFM International and can fly up to 4,075 kilometers. The C919 has a maximum capacity of 192 seats. The model has already crossed the threshold of orders of 1,000 aircraft in the fall of 2023. The first operator is China Eastern.