[photopress:ARJ_31_jet.jpg,full,alignright]At the end of this year the ARJ-21 — meaning Advanced Regional Jet for the 21st century — will probably be flying which means that China will be that much closer to its ambition of becoming an aerospace power.
Built by China Aviation Industry, the country’s biggest military aircraft maker, the regional airliner was recently shown at its current rate of development. It is nearly there.
An official with Shanghai Aircraft Manufacturing Factory, said, ‘The ARJ-21 will come off the production line by December and start flight trials in March 2008.’ This is a small passenger plane which will take between 70 to 90 passengers depending on configuration and is expected to enter the commercial market in the third quarter of 2009.
Domestic airlines have already placed 71 orders for the ARJ-21 and production capacity is expected to be about 50 planes a year. China has repeatedly stated it wants to lessen its reliance on Boeing of the United States and Europe’s Airbus by building its own planes.
Having said that, it should be noted that about 40% of the AJR-21’s parts are made by foreign manufacturers — General Electric, Honeywell and Parker Hannifin. China is to form a new company to focus on research and development and is looking for foreign allies.
ARJ-21’s chief designer, Wu Guanghui, said, ‘I am confident that the ARJ-21 will become the best regional jet in the world and give passengers a safe and comfortable flight experience.’
The ARJ-21 passenger cabin will be 3.14 meters wide and 2.06 meters high with 70 to 110 seats. It will fly at a maximum of 39,000 feet and can travel up to 3,700 kilometers without refueling.
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