The commercial aircraft division of Chinese state manufacturing group AVIC I Commercial Aircraft (ACAC) has launched a marketing study into a freighter version of its ARJ21 regional jet.

A model of the ARJ21-700F cargo version was displayed at the Paris air show, but ACAC says it has yet to take a decision on the project’s official launch. “We are doing a market study and have done some preliminary design work,” the company says. Detailed design work, including the positioning of a cargo door, will begin once a decision to offer the aircraft to customers is taken, possibly within one month, the company says.

The freighter will be based on the standard 78-seat ARJ21-700 model and will take mini pallets, as well as non-palletised “utility” cargo to remote areas, says a source at the group. Fellow Chinese manufacturer Xian has begun development of a four-engined large cargo aircraft for civil and military applications and the manufacturers could share expertise.

Meanwhile, Parker Aerospace has secured a hydraulic and fuel systems supply contract for the ARJ21 worth up to $250 million, if ACAC achieves its goal of selling 500 aircraft over 20 years. ACAC aims to sell 100 of its 105-seat ARJ21 regional jets by 2006 and already has 41 firm orders.

Source: Flight International