Jakarta. N219 Nurtanio, an aircraft produced by state-owned aerospace company Dirgantara Indonesia, has completed its final test flight successfully on Friday, clearing the way for its inaugural commercial flight in the country next year, the Science and Technology Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro said.
"I just saw N219's final test flight in Bandung this morning. The airplane is part of the national research priority," Bambang said on Friday.
The minister said N219 would soon receive a commercial aircraft license from the Directorate General of Air Traffic at the Transportation Ministry to allow the airplane to fly commercial routes in the country.
"The aircraft was developed 100 percent by Indonesia's best sons and daughters, manufactured and assembled by Dirgantara Indonesia, and will also be certified for the first time by regulators in Indonesia," Bambang said.
Dirgantara Indonesia, the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (Lapan), and the Technology Assessment and Application Agency (BPPT) have developed since 2003 with an aim to make a unique airplane with passenger or cargo capability to serve Indonesian remote islands, accruing a total cost of Rp 1.1 trillion ($78 million).
The twin-engine, 19 seater airplane completed its maiden flight in 2017. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo then christened the aircraft as Nurtanio, after Indonesia's aerospace pioneer Air Rear Adm. Nurtanio Pringgoadisuryo.
Nurtanio has attracted interests from Indonesian airlines and foreign governments.
Local airlines like Lion Mentari Airlines, or Lion Air, has lined up to operate the airplane to serve customers from remote, shorts, and underdeveloped airfields across Indonesian islands.
China and Mexico have signed an agreement to buy the aircraft, while Thailand and Myanmar expressed their interest in acquiring the airplane. Turkish Aerospace Industries inked a deal with Dirgantara Indonesia in 2017 to manufacture the N219 to be sold in Africa.