Zhuhai10: ARJ21 flight test programme completes 900h

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The Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (Comac) says its ARJ21 regional jet flight test programme has completed 900 flight hours, and it aims to receive Chinese regulatory certification for the aircraft by September 2011.

The four aircraft in the ARJ21 test fleet have completed more than 400 flights, Comac said at Airshow China in Zhuhai.

It aims to receive certification for the aircraft from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) by September 2011, says ARJ21 chief designer Chen Yong.

"After that, we expect to deliver the first aircraft by year-end to [launch operator] Chengdu Airlines," he adds.

First delivery of the ARJ21 was initially expected to be at the end of this year, but sources have said previously that unresolved design issues resulted in it being postponed.

Comac hopes to eventually market the ARJ21 overseas, and a shadow certification programme by the US FAA is ongoing.

The shadow certification, which started in March, involves the FAA assessing the CAAC's ability to technically assess the aircraft in 49 different areas, says Comac.

Comac can then apply for FAR 25 certification if it passes this shadow certification, which is expected to be completed in 2012, says Chen.