Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China's (Comac) ARJ21 regional jet has had its second test flight, about four months after the first flight.

Its first flight was on 28 November last year and a Comac spokesman in Shanghai says the second flight was on 14 March and it flew for about 90mins.

He says the company aims to have the third flight later this month but has yet to fix a date.

Industry sources in China familiar with the programme say Comac is aiming to have the third flight within the next five days but the Comac spokesman declines to confirm this.

When asked why there was nearly a four-month lag between the first and second flight, the spokesman says "there were some approvals" the company had to get from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). This is China's aviation regulator, which is working to certify the ARJ21.

The ARJ21 is due to enter service in late 2010, according to a top Shenzhen Airlines official ATI spoke to earlier this month.

The official told ATI that Shenzhen Airlines' regional carrier Kunpeng Airlines has replaced Shandong Airlines as launch operator of the ARJ21.

A Shandong Airlines official also confirmed to ATI that this is correct.

The ARJ21 has experienced numerous delays over the years. It had its first roll-out in December 2007.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news