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China's ARJ21 faces further six-month delay in first delivery

Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac) has disclosed that first delivery of its ARJ21-700 regional jet is to be delayed by a further six months.

Comac president, Jin Zhuanglong, has told state-run China Daily newspaper that the first ARJ21-700 will be delivered to launch customer Shandong Airlines sometime in mid-2010.

"It will take about one a half years for the ARJ21-700 to cover all the flight tests necessary before entering the market," he says.

The ARJ21-700 had its first flight in late November and the flight tests are part of efforts to gain Chinese certification before the aircraft is delivered to customers.

In September 2003 Shandong Airlines placed an order for 10 ARJ21-700s and at that tine first deliveries were due to occur in late 2007. But since then there have been several delays in the programme.

More recently the aircraft-maker had been aiming to deliver the first ARJ21 to Shandong Airlines towards the end of next year but Jin's latest disclosure means a further six month delay.

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