The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac) ARJ21-700 regional jet is ready to enter the type inspection authorisation (TIA) stage, nine years after the project began.

Comac said in a statement that the aircraft had undergone several airworthiness certification flight tests in 2011, completing the preparation before it enters the TIA stage.

This is likely to be the final stage before aircraft is handed over to the Civil Aviation Administration of China, which is responsible for awarding the type certification.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), on the invitation of both Comac and the CAAC, is also conducting a shadow certification of the ARJ21-700. Comac wants to apply for FAR 25 certification after the ARJ21 passes this shadow certification to market the aircraft overseas.

Launch customer Chengdu Airlines was due to receive its first aircraft by end-2011, but the ongoing delays in the certification process means that this has been pushed back by up to a year.

In August, company officials said that they faced "problems" during the icing tests on the aircraft and that they could not complete them by a mid-2011 deadline. Stalling speed tests had also not begun by the deadline

Static tests for the ARJ21 were completed on 14 April and crosswind tests on 24 May. Flutter testing on the ARJ21 started on 4 April, and was successfully completed in Xian on 18 August.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news