The head of Europe's aviation safety agency hopes to certify the Boeing 787 Dreamliner between the middle and the end of this year, he said on Tuesday.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) does not take the lead in declaring the new US-built carbon-composite airliner safe to enter service but is expected to coordinate its actions with the US Federal Aviation Administration.
The two safety agencies provided safety certification for the Airbus A380 superjumbo on the same day.
"For the 787, we hope to do the same," Patrick Goudou, EASA director general, told a specialist news briefing in Paris.
"The timetable is not clear because Boeing have had some problems as you know, but we are hoping for mid-year or maybe a bit later, around end-year."
The European paperwork is needed before a European airline can operate the 787. Its first customer is Japanese.
In practice both US and European approvals are usually sought before a new type of either Boeing or Airbus airliner enters international service, industry experts say.
Flight testing of the 787 was disrupted in November by an in-flight electrical fire on a test flight in Laredo, Texas.
Industry reports say certification test flights will resume this week.
Delivery of the 787, which promises hefty fuel savings to airlines, has been delayed six times.
Boeing has said its first-quarter 2011 delivery target will slip after the fire but has yet to give a new schedule.
Goudou also said he expected Russia's Superjet regional jet built by Sukhoi with investment from Italy's Finmeccanica and other Western firms to win EASA safety certification in 2012.