Comac has confirmed that the first-flight schedule for its C919 narrowbody has been pushed back to at least next year.

Speaking to Flightglobal at the Paris air show, Dang Tiehong – Comac's deputy general manager for sales and marketing – says the Chinese airframer is working on rolling out the first C919 flight-test aircraft by end-2015 and to fly the aircraft next year.

Flightglobal understands that the internal target is for a September roll-out.

Final assembly of the airframe has been largely completed, and systems are now being progressively installed on the prototype, says Dang.

"We will bring the aircraft to the first-flight preparation state by the end of the year. If successful, we will make the first flight next year," he adds.

The original first-flight target for the C919 is end-2015, although sources have told Flightglobal that delays are highly likely, owing to the company's nascent abilities with systems integration.

Dang adds that Comac has also yet to decide whether to pursue certification from the US Federal Aviation Administration or the European Aviation Safety Agency for the C919, although Western certification is definitely on the cards.

"Like the ARJ21, what we will do is to first seek certification from the Civil Aviation Administration of China," he adds.

Comac had previously told Flightglobal that it could turn to EASA for the certification of the C919, even though it has been working with the FAA for years on the ARJ21. Sources hinted at Comac being concerned that the FAA's experience with the ARJ21 could impact the C919 certification journey.

Source: Cirium Dashboard