Comac will miss a target to fly its C919 158-seat narrowbody airliner in 2014, industry sources familiar with the Chinese program tell Aviation Week.
The first flight now is scheduled for the second quarter of 2015, says one industry source with detailed knowledge of the program.
According to the new plan, Comac will roll out the aircraft in December 2014, says the source.The manufacturer still is aiming to achieve its target of a first delivery in 2016—but only just. The specific aim is now December of that year.
The first flight has been delayed by up to a year from a previous, unannounced target of June 2014.
Program managers had scheduled at least two years for flight testing. They now have about 18 months for testing, closer to the time allocated for flight tests by Western manufacturers.
The C919’s new schedule more closely matches the timetable for its engine. The CFM Leap-1C engine is due to be certified in June 2015, although the Civil Aviation Administration of China could permit C919 flight testing before the engine is certified.
The first Leap-1C should go into testing in the fall of this year, or at least no later than the fourth quarter.
Comac, a government agency registered as a company, made the decision to reschedule months ago, say three industry sources.
The delay is no surprise. The C919, launched in 2008, began to miss schedule targets as early as the supplier selection and contracting stage.