Chinese airframer Comac is targeting to start final assembly of its first test C919 aircraft by the end of the year.

Speaking to Flightglobal on the sidelines of the Singapore air show, Dang Tiehong, its deputy general manager for sales and marketing says aircraft structural data has been distributed to suppliers, and that the aim is for the jet's structure to be delivered to Shanghai for final assembly this year.

He adds that most of the aircraft's systems have also gone through the critical design review, and that manufacturing is ongoing.

"We aim to finish airframe assembly of the first test aircraft by year end, and next year to start assembly of the systems," says Dang.

He adds that Comac is still conscientiously working towards a 2015 year-end first flight target for the C919. The airframer has also started tests on its iron bird platform.

Dang discloses that Comac will likely be building a total of eight test aircraft - five for flight tests and three for ground tests.

Comac says that the C919 is in the critical phase of detailed design and engineering manufacturing, and that the main airframe structures are being manufactured.

Besides the final assembly of its first test aircraft, the airframer will also carry out systems integration tests, airworthiness verification and other relevant work this year, it adds.

The C919 has so far garnered 400 orders, mostly from Chinese airlines and leasing companies.

Deng says he is confident that the airframer will see more orders before the aircraft's first flight.

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Source: Cirium Dashboard