Beijing: China’s first commercial regional aircraft, the ARJ21, was delivered on Sunday.
The passenger plane, produced by the Shanghai-headquartered Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China (COMAC), was bought by Chengdu Airlines, Xinhua reported.
Xiangfeng (Flying Phoenix) is a 90-passenger capacity twin-engine jet, with a standard range of 2,220 kms. It is expected to ply busy routes such as Chengdu-Beijing and Chengdu-Shanghai.
COMAC has received more than 300 orders from 19 airlines, including three from the Republic of Congo.
The plane is China’s first regional jet to be manufactured according to international standards.
Following its maiden flight in 2008, it was put through six years of gruelling tests before being awarded airworthiness certificates from the Civil Aviation Administration of China, and US Federal Aviation Agency.
The jet will also inform the development of China’s first large passenger aircraft the C919.
Following experience gained from developing the ARJ21, COMAC was able to complete the design, calculation and tests to produce the first C919 in seven years.
The jet was unveiled earlier this month. It is expected to compete with Airbus 320 and Boeing 737.
“The airplane programmes show that China’s aviation industry is taking shape to compete with its western counterparts,” said Luo Ronghuai, chief commander of the ARJ21 development project.
China is the world’s largest civil aviation market, with its 21 largest airports seeing annual throughput exceeding 10 million passengers and a fleet of over 3,000 aircraft, which is dominated by Boeing and Airbus. The ARJ21 jet is the first Made in China aircraft to join the fleet.
Chengdu Airlines has ordered five more ARJ21 jets, delivery is due before the end of 2016. In five to six years, the airline hopes to have a fleet of 30 ARJ21.
He Peiwen, Chengdu Airlines deputy manager, said the first jet will be put into operation in three months on seven domestic routes, and later on lines to southeast Asian countries.
First Published | 29 November 2015 6:13 PM