ARJ-21 Starts Test Flights March 2008
It's been a long time coming, as ANN reported. But now, with final
assembly having begun May 30 on the first jetliner to come off
the production line by the end of 2007, China's first wholly-made
airplane is becoming a reality, reports The People's Daily.
Meanwhile, photographs of the ARJ-21 — a
mid-sized jet capable of carrying 70 to 100 passengers —
taken at its hangar in Shanghai are reaching every corner of
The ARJ-21 is being developed by the AVIC I Commercial Aircraft
Company, a group of six companies and aerospace research institutes
carrying out the development and manufacture of the aircraft. The
aircraft performance dimensions meet the demanding conditions in
China, including the hot and high altitude conditions in Western
With its exploding domestic economy, China is spending billions
on imported airlines. The Xinhua News Agency recently announced the
accelerated home-grown large airliner program, making note of the
national prestige associated with the venture.
Meanwhile, Embraer has a factory there and Airbus plans to build
A320s in China, reported ANN. Even the FAA recently
opened an office in Shanghai, which is expected to assist Chinese
manufacturers' efforts to earn US certification for their aircraft
and boost US aviation industry sales to China's fast-growing
Initially, the new office will primarily support efforts by
China's General Administration of Civil Aviation to meet US safety
standards and gain approval for the ARJ-21 passenger jet,
accordingly to John Hickey, director of the FAA's Aircraft
Test flights will begin for the ARJ21 next year. Its builders
are the same Chinese consortium planning to develop a new, larger
jet by 2020.
Foreign suppliers are providing support for the ARJ21, and there
are already 70 orders from Chinese airlines, including Shanghai
Airlines, Shandong Airlines, and Xiamen Airlines.