Several Western aircraft manufacturers are considering assisting with the development of the stretched version of China's ARJ21 regional jet programme, writes Leithen Francis.

There are already "some foreign [aircraft] companies that are interested in the ARJ21-900 [stretch] and are considering co-operating on the development of the fuselage", says Zheng Qiang, president of AVIC I Commercial Aircraft (ACAC), the Shanghai-headquartered company in change of the ARJ21 programme.

"We have been considering how ACAC could absorb and attract foreign investment into the company," says Zheng.

The ARJ21-900 is a 105-seat stretched version of the baseline 90-seat ARJ21-700. Both versions will be powered by General Electric CF34-10A engines.

Zheng says: "We are looking at getting some technological breakthroughs and co-operating with a foreign company on the -900." This would involve "expanding the use of composite materials", he adds.

Source: Flight International