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China seeks European approval of C919

China seeks European approval of C919

In a strategic move to bolster the global standing of its domestically manufactured narrowbody passenger jet, the C919, China has announced plans to seek certification for the aircraft in Europe this year.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) conveyed this initiative during its annual industry working conference in Beijing. The objective is to enhance the international recognition of the C919 and position it as a formidable competitor against industry giants Boeing and Airbus.

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Chinese government officials emphasize active collaboration with international aviation authorities, specifically the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), in securing the necessary certifications for the C919. Such internationally recognized airworthiness certification is not only crucial for exporting Comac’s aircraft but is also integral for establishing global acceptance of Chinese commercial aerospace manufacturing.

The C919 program achieved notable milestones recently, including its inaugural flight outside Mainland China, where it demonstrated its capabilities with a flight over downtown Hong Kong in December. China Eastern Airlines, based in Shanghai, also confirmed the receipt of its fourth C919 jet on Tuesday, underlining the momentum of the program.

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Comac, the state-owned manufacturer behind the C919, is not only focusing on European certification but is also collaborating with Tibet Airlines to develop a high-altitude variant of the aircraft. Additionally, hints of a stretched variant being in the works indicate the manufacturer’s commitment to expanding the C919’s capabilities.

Despite these advancements, gaining foreign certification for the C919 represents a symbolic victory for China’s aerospace ambitions. However, the aircraft faces significant challenges in competing on the international stage with established players like Airbus and Boeing. Issues related to efficiency, maintenance, infrastructure, and geopolitical considerations present formidable hurdles. As a result, even with regulatory approval, the C919 is anticipated to encounter difficulties in securing orders beyond China and its allied nations.

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