China's AVIC I Commercial Aircraft (ACAC) plans to establish a representative office in the USA, and later a subsidiary, to spearhead its sales push into that market. ACAC president Luo Ronghuai says the office will also handle customer support.
ACAC is due to roll out its first aircraft, the 90-seat ARJ21-700, in late December and aims to have the -700 receive Chinese certification in September 2009.
Design work on the 105-seat stretched version, the ARJ21-900, is still under way with the help of Bombardier and Luo says the -900's structure will be at least 30% composite materials.
Luo adds: "By the end of this year we will launch this [ARJ21-900] programme." He says the aircraft roll-out will be by 2013.
ACAC is hoping the ARJ21-700 and the -900 will receive US Federal Aviation Administration certification, but ACAC has yet to lodge a formal application because it is waiting to see if the FAA will be receptive.
Luo says a meeting has been scheduled for 23 October in China between the FAA and the Civil Aviation Administration of China.
"After that meeting we will know what sought of work we will need to do to get FAA certification, but right now ACAC is unable to say if it will seek FAA certification because it depends on the outcome of that meeting," says Luo.
The FAA has already established a technical assistance office in Beijing and Shanghai primarily to help the CAAC certificate the ARJ21 in line with Western standards.
China already produces the Harbin Y-12, which has US FAA certification, but because the Y-12 only seats 18 passengers, its certification comes under Part 23, which is generally less stringent than Part 25 certification, which larger aircraft such as the ARJ21 comes under.