US and China forge deal for mutual recognition of aircraft safety approvals

SCMP says in its report “US and China forge deal for mutual recognition of aircraft safety approvals” today that it was announced on October 27 that the US and China concluded US-China Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement. It says, “Under the agreement, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration of the US) and the Civil Aviation Administration of China will recognise the other’s regulatory systems for aircraft and parts.’

The agreement facilitates Boeing’s export of airliners to China but “may also help speed international approvals for the first Chinese aircraft designed to compete against single-aisle planes made by Boeing and Airbus SE”, SCMP said.

Source: SCMP “US and China forge deal for mutual recognition of aircraft safety approvals” (summary by Chan Kai Yee, full text of which can be found at


China’s COMAC says C919 jet completed second test flight

China’s domestically developed C919 passenger jet is seen during its second test flight near Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, China September 28, 2017. China Daily via REUTERS

Brenda Goh September 28, 2017

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s domestically developed C919 passenger jet completed its second test flight on Thursday, the jet’s maker said, but the duration and near five-month gap since its first flight have raised questions over whether its latest delivery target can be met.

The narrow-body C919, which will compete with Boeing Co’s (BA.N) 737 and the Airbus SE (AIR.PA) A320, is a symbol of China’s ambition to muscle into a global jet market estimated to be worth $2 trillion over the next 20 years.

However, the program has faced lengthy delays and missed its original target of delivery to customers by 2016 – a date reportedly pushed back to 2020. Sales to date have been restricted largely to its home market because it has yet to be certified by regulators in the United States and Europe.

Thursday’s flight was the second for the initial C919 test model, whose maiden flight was on May 5. The second of six planned test aircraft, which achieved power-on of its systems in July, has yet to fly.

Commercial Aircraft Corp of China Ltd (COMAC) [CMAFC.UL] said the plane reached an altitude of 10,000 feet during a flight that took off from Shanghai’s Pudong Airport at 07:22 a.m. (2322 GMT) and landed at 10:08 a.m.

“Various elements of the test flight, including with the raising/lowering of the landing gear, were all completed smoothly,” COMAC said in a statement.

The 166-minute flight time was more than double the maiden flight of 80 minutes, but 54 minutes shorter than plans detailed in an article published by state-backed news website earlier on Thursday. COMAC did not immediately reply to questions from Reuters on whether the flight was shorter than planned.

Bradley Perrett, a veteran China watcher and reporter at Aviation Week, said the five-month interval between the aircraft’s two flights was “extraordinary” and COMAC’s reported delivery target of 2020 appeared not to be firm.

“The conclusion must be that COMAC was not really ready for flight testing in May,” Perrett said in an article published on Wednesday. “A common view is that the C919 was put into the air so early for strictly political reasons, although there is no suggestion that doing so was unsafe.”

Mitsubishi Heavy Industry Industries Ltd’s (7011.T), Mitsubishi Regional Jet – Japan’s first passenger aircraft – took its second flight eight days after it first flew in 2015 while the gap between the first and second flight for the Airbus A350 was five days, Perrett said.

Strongly backed by China’s government, COMAC has so far announced orders for 730 C919 planes from 27 customers, many of which are Chinese leasing companies.

Though billed as homemade, the C919 relies on overseas technology from firms including General Electric Co (GE.N), France’s Safran SA (SAF.PA), Honeywell International Inc (HON.N) and United Technologies Corp (UTX.N).

COMAC also said its ARJ21 regional jet was in the air at the same time as the C919 on Thursday, marking the first time two types of domestically made passenger jets have taken to China’s skies simultaneously.

Reporting by Brenda Goh; Additional reporting by Jamie Freed and Adam Jourdan; Editing by Stephen Coates and Muralikumar Anantharaman

Source: Reuters “China’s COMAC says C919 jet completed second test flight”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.

After 13 years, China’s home-grown Comac ARJ21 passenger jet enters commercial service

The Comac jet arrives in Chengdu yesterday. Photo: SCMP Pictures

The Comac jet arrives in Chengdu yesterday. Photo: SCMP Pictures

The first of 30 Comac ARJ21 planes delivered to Chengdu Airlines amid nationalistic fervour

China’s ambition of an indigenous plane took wings on Sunday as its first home-grown passenger jet, the Comac ARJ21, entered commercial service after 13 years in the making.

Configured with 90 economy-class seats, the jet was delivered to its launch customer, Chengdu Airlines, from Comac’s Shanghai factory and flown to Chengdu by the airline’s general manager Sui Mingguang and deputy manager Zhang Fang in an emotionally charged event bursting with nationalistic rhetoric.

“I am very proud to fly the first Chinese-made jet…It is not in any way inferior to the A320,” said Zhang, the captain, upon landing, as reporters unleashed a volley of questions on comparisons with the bigger Airbus product.

Chengdu Airlines, a budget carrier in which Comac has a 48 per cent stake, now faces the task of establishing its maker’s claims and proving to the world that China has arrived as a plane maker. ARJ’s commercial performance will serve as a test case for the bigger C919, China’s answer to Boeing and Airbus in the 150-seat category, that rolled off the assembly line this month.

The ARJ has yet to gain US endorsement, limiting its market to non-Western skies. But Comac has already received more than 300 orders, including from customers in the Republic of Congo, Thailand, Myanmar and Germany.

The plane was certified by the Chinese aviation authority last December after nearly seven years of tests.

Chengdu Airlines, which has a fleet of 20 A320s, said it planned to use the ARJ in less than three months upon completing post-delivery tests. It is likely to be used on prominent routes between Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen first, before being deployed in southwest China.

Chengdu Airlines will receive four more ARJs from Comac next year – the first batch of the 30 planes it ordered. But the airline will also need to find pilots. Since pilot licences are model-specific, there are just 10 pilots licensed to fly ARJ in the country at present. They include four at Chengdu Airlines, all of whom were in the cockpit yesterday.

Converting to an ARJ licence will be a major career gamble for pilots whose pay depends on their flying hours and who are not allowed to operate multiple models at the same time.

Despite that, the response of the airline’s nearly 400 A320 pilots had been “more enthusiastic” than expected, said Captain Ti Wei, deputy manager of the airline’s flight department.

That is in part because the company is tripling the hourly pay to make up for the shorter flying hours that ARJ will entail.

Ti is one of the first batch of 16 experienced pilots at the airline on course for the training, which takes 50-70 days. “I am looking forward to being able to fly China’s own plane,” said Ti, who has flown in an ARJ simulator and found it to be “very smooth”.

Olga Razzhivina, a director at aircraft appraiser Oriel, said: “As the ARJ enters service, Comac’s support ability will be the main test. Being a newcomer to aircraft manufacturing is not easy. Not only the aircraft itself has to be safe, the manufacturer has to convince potential customers of its ability to resolve any technical issues quickly and efficiently.”

The ARJ is entering a crowded market currently dominated by Brazil’s Embrarer and Canada’s Bombardier.

Source: SCMP “After 13 years, China’s home-grown Comac ARJ21 passenger jet enters commercial service”