Assembly work has started on the first Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac) ARJ21 production aircraft, which will be delivered to the regional jet's launch operator.

The first shipment of parts for the aircraft was delivered to Comac subsidiary Shanghai Aircraft Manufacturing, which is responsible for final assembly of the ARJ21, at a ceremony on 8 November, says Comac.

Among the parts was the aircraft's nose section supplied by Chengdu Aircraft, the fuselage sections from Xian Aircraft and the vertical stabiliser from Shenyang Aircraft, adds Comac.

Aircraft 105 will be the first production aircraft delivered to the ARJ21 launch operator, expected to be Chengdu Airlines.

Delays to the ARJ21 programme have pushed first deliveries to the third quarter of 2011 at the earliest, sources close to the programme have said.

Aircraft 104, one of four in the ARJ21 test fleet, will make its airshow flight debut at Airshow China in Zhuhai next week. It arrived at Zhuhai yesterday after a flight from Xian, where most of the flight testing has been taking place.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news