A Chinese-developed commercial passenger plane has been certified by the country’s aviation regulator, Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) on Tuesday. The organization cleared the way for the ARJ21 regional jet to fly domestic routes as informed by the manufacturer and state media.
A spokesman for Shanghai-based Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China (COMAC), the plane’s manufacturer, confirmed it to AFP that the final domestic regulatory hurdle had been cleared.
Now, the ARJ21 needs crucial approval from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to be successful in international market to lure airlines from all over the world. Potential business and use of the ARJ21 outside China depend “on the CAAC and other countries’ level of recognition of its certification”, the spokesman said.
FAA certification would enable the Chinese plane to fly in US skies and assure safety of passengers. Otherwise, the 78-90 seat plane will face a more limited market.
“There must be a period for improving the model’s design, systems and operations before its entry into the market,” COMAC vice president Luo Ronghuai was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
The first ARJ21 jet was designed and built between 2003 and 2007. The plane had its inaugural flight in November, 2008. The deliveries to customers are years behind schedule as the original deadline was of 2009.
The plane already has secured 278 orders. COMAC announced a 20-plane purchase on the sidelines of China’s premier Zhuhai airshow in November last year.
The manufacturer will begin small-scale production of the ARJ21 next year, Shanghai television reported.
China’s ambitions are far more than a regional jet. COMAC has recently started assembling the C919, a 158-168 seat narrow-body jet that would compete with Boeing’s 737 and the A320 of European consortium Airbus. The Chinese wide-body passenger plane is also in works and tentatively called the C929. This is being developed in cooperation with Russia’s United Aircraft Corp.
Source: Yahoo News