Six complete Boeing 787s are awaiting a type certificate that the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) probably will not issue until March.

Hainan Airlines, owner of three of the aircraft, needs the aircraft to open a route from Beijing to Chicago planned to begin in April 2013, say industry sources. China Southern wants to put its three 787s into domestic service first.

The Chinese were ready to issue the type certificate some years ago but, because of the 787’s development delays, the results of its preparatory work expired before the aircraft could go into service, the industry sources say. A Boeing spokesman says only the company is working with the CAAC and the airlines to get the aircraft flying in China.