Political leaders and airline bosses from around China today converged on an aircraft factory in the northern outskirts of Shanghai to witness the unveiling of the country’s first ARJ21-700, a new commercial regional jet aircraft that is at the forefront of China’s efforts to be a major player in aircraft manufacturing.

The roll-out today of the first AVIC I Commercial Aircraft (ACAC) ARJ21-700 had all the pomp and pageantry that one would expect of a state-sponsored event. The event is being broadcast live on China’s central television network and VIPs include Chinese vice premier Zeng Peiyan.

Airline bosses from most of China’s carriers are also at the event including those from Air China, Shanghai Airlines and Shenzhen Airlines.

The aircraft is being unveiled inside the Shanghai Aircraft Company plant at Dachang Airport in a northern industrial area of Shanghai.

The ARJ21-700 is a 90-seat regional jet aircraft which has a long list of western suppliers including engine maker General Electric and avionics supplier Rockwell Collins.

To date orders for the aircraft have been secured from: Shanghai Airlines, for five; Shandong Airlines, for 10; and Shenzhen Financial Leasing, for 20.

Letters of intent or memoranda of understanding have also been secured from: Laos’ Government, for two; China’s Xiamen Airlines, for six, and Shanghai Electric, for 30.

The ARJ21-700 is due to have its first flight in the coming months and receive Chinese certification in time for first delivery to Shandong Airlines in September 2009.

Pictures of the ARJ21-700 in production ...


Source: FlightGlobal.com