First homegrown regional jet delays maiden flight

Updated: 2008-03-29 09:54

SHANGHAI - The maiden flight of China's first homegrown regional jet, the ARJ21-700, will be postponed to September or October because some key systems have failed to be delivered at the scheduled time, an AVIC I Commercial Aircraft Co. Ltd. spokesman said on Friday.

"We are making efforts to ensure the key parts including the flight control system to be delivered in time so that our customers won't be affected," said the spokesman, who declined to give further details about the postponement.

The ARJ21 jet, "Xiang Feng," had initially planned to make its maiden flight this month with delivery to the first customers in the third quarter of 2009 after it received its airworthiness certification in the first half of the same year. It will go through more than 170 tests before getting certified.

The spokesman said the company had received orders for 181 Xiang Feng aircraft as of Friday, all from domestic airline companies. They included Shandong Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, Xiamen Airlines, Shenzhen Financial Leasing Co., Ltd. and Shanghai Electric Leasing Co. Ltd.

The company has recently signed a memorandum of understanding with GE Capital Aviation Services that they would sign an order for five ARJ21-700 jets at a later date. "This is the first time China will sell airplanes to a Western country," the spokesman said.

ARJ21, short for "Advanced Regional Jet for the 21st Century," is known for its safety and low price. It is the first regional jet that China has fully developed on its own, in accordance with the standards set by General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (GACAC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA).

The first ARJ21-700 jet, powered by a turbofan engine, has a maximum range of 2,000 nautical miles.

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