Final assembly work is due to begin this month in Shanghai on China's first ARJ21-700 regional jet. The first aircraft should be completed in December in time for flight testing to begin next March.
AVIC I Commercial Aircraft (ACAC), which is leading the programme, says that the ARJ21 final assembly plant has received many of the components for the first aircraft. ACAC is overseeing the work, but final assembly takes place at AVIC I's Shanghai Aircraft division and major subassemblies are largely made at other AVIC I factories across the country.
Last week Xian Aircraft (XAC), the main supplier to the ARJ21 programme, delivered an ARJ21 mid-fuselage section and one set of wings to Shanghai Aircraft.
Other assemblies already delivered to Shanghai Aircraft include the nose section, which AVIC I's Chengdu Aircraft delivered in December, and a front fuselage section that arrived from XAC last September. "The aircraft will be delivered to the first airline customer Shandong Airlines around July 2009," says ACAC.
The ARJ21-700 is a 90-seater powered by General Electric CF34-10A engines that China has developed with assistance from Western suppliers. Rockwell Collins is supplying the avionics. ARJ21 customers with firm orders include Shandong Airlines (10), Shenzhen Financial Leasing (20) and Shanghai Airlines (five). Commitments are also held by Xiamen Airlines for six and Shanghai Electric Leasing for 30 aircraft.
The nose section for the first ARJ21 is ready for final assembly at AVIC I's Shanghai plant