China Certifies First Airline Jet

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Chinese aircraft maker Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd. announced this week it was awarded a type certificate for the country’s first regional jet from the Civil Aviation Administration of China. The ARJ21-700 is nearing final certification and the first two will go to a domestic carrier, Chengdu Airlines, The Associated Press reported. While the new regional jet will first serve the domestic market, Comac has said it always intended to compete in the international airliner markets with the ARJ21 and its C919, a larger airliner under development for 2018. “We first want to develop our business in China and then gradually we will go to the international market,” Comac executive Tian Min said in the AP’s report.

Comac named the jet ARJ21, short for Advanced Regional Jet for the 21st Century, and designed it for hub-and-spoke regional routes with two CF34-10A engines, according to its website. The jets will seat 78 to 90 passengers depending on configuration. Comac began the ARJ21 project in 2002 with intentions to enter the airliner market, which is dominated by European and North American companies, the AP reported. The Chinese Civil Aviation Authority had planned to work with the FAA for international certification, but that has not moved forward. The regional jet was to be completed by 2007, but technical problems delayed its development, according to the AP. For now, Comac is focused on the domestic market and flights to Southeast Asia but is expected to eventually make China a major player in the global market, the AP reported.

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