[photopress:arj21.jpg,full,alignright]The prototype of the home-grown Advanced Regional Jet 21 is expected to shown next month at an aeronautics exhibition in Shanghai. Note this is display as opposed to fly. The maiden voyage, as it were, will probably be March next year.
The plane is in final assembly at Shanghai Aircraft Manufacturing Factory’s workshop in Baoshan District. First plane off the production line by the end of this year. Then the first test flight three months later.
Shanghai Aircraft’s assembly plant is affiliated to China Aviation Industry Corporation One which is the company currently trying to buy Airbus factories in Europe. The Shanghai plant will be able to assemble 50 planes a year although yearly output of 30 planes is anticipated during the first phase.
The ARJ 21 is the first jet for regional flights completely designed and made in China and is more important than it appears. With it China enters the self-sufficient jet age. From there the trajectory is skywards.
If all goes to plan next March that a Chinese mainland license for commercial flights will be issued in September 2009 which is when delivery to buyers is scheduled. The firm has received 41 orders for the advanced regional jet so that is the first years’ production already spoken for.
Premier Wen Jiabao announced in March that China will launch the development of trunk line planes in five years. Compared with trunk liners, which have at least 150 seats, the ARJ21 is designed to have two variants with a capacity between 70 to 100 passengers. Most of its components are to be manufactured by Chinese companies in other provinces before they are sent to Shanghai for final assembly.
Source: Shanghai Daily