Comac has commenced component production for the first batch of C919 aircraft to be delivered to its customers.
The Chinese airframer states that the narrowbody’s wingbox, as well as other components, are under production, at factories in Shanghai, Xian and Chengdu. It is partnering Avic subsidiaries Chengdu Aircraft Industry and Xian Aircraft Industrial Corporation for this stage of production.
Xian Aircraft is also responsible for developing the C919 main fuselage and wingbox segments, which Comac says accounts for about 35% of the aircraft structure. Chengdu Aircraft Industry, meanwhile, is responsible for the development of the front fuselage and nose.
Comac’s role will be in the main fuselage and wings, on top of final assembly.
The airframer says the commencement of component production was “substantial progress” in the narrowbody programme. It also comes amid concerns that the C919 timeline might slip, entering service with launch customer China Eastern Airlines later than expected.
This year, the last pair of six narrowbody prototypes will embark on test flights after completing final assembly. The first four have already undergone flight testing in areas such as Shanghai and Xian as well as Nanchang, with more than 1,000 test flights performed.
As recently as August, the fourth C919 prototype took off on its first test flight at Shanghai.
Cirium fleets data shows that there are 305 firm orders for the the CFM International Leap-1C-powered aircraft. Comac has also secured more than 700 commitments for the C919.