C919 joint definition phase slightly delayed

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The joint definition phase of the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac) C919 narrowbody is now scheduled for completion this summer, instead of in the first quarter as initially expected.

Progress of the joint definition phase is "within a month or so" from the original scheduled date and suppliers are aiming to complete it in the summer, says Rockwell Collins' executive VP international and service solutions Greg Churchill.

Rockwell Collins is a major supplier to the C919, and is providing the aircraft's communications, navigation and surveillance systems and the cabin core system among other parts. It is carrying out the work through joint ventures with several local Chinese partners.

Churchill says that the delay is not "necessarily indicative of where we will be in a year or two years", adding that Rockwell Collins still has confidence in the programme schedule as a whole.

Comac was originally expected to finish the joint definition phase for the aircraft in the first quarter, before progressing to the detailed design phase, which it aims to wrap up in 2012.

The C919 is scheduled to make its first flight in 2014, followed by first delivery in 2016.

Comac, which has declined to comment on its aircraft programmes, announced an order for up to 100 C919s from four Chinese airlines and four lessors at last November's Airshow China in Zhuhai.