China’s First Independently Developed Aircraft Comac ARJ21 Makes Maiden Passenger Flight

China’s first home-built regional jet embarked on its first ever commercial flight on Tuesday from the southwest Chengdu to Shanghai on the east coast. The Comac ARJ21 Xiangfeng is a twin-engined regional jet manufactured by Shanghai-based Commercial Aircraft Corp of China Ltd (COMAC), which carried 70 passengers aboard on its maiden flight.

The debut, which is already a decade late, emphasizes problems in China’s bid to become a global aviation player. According to COMAC, the launch is a very crucial milestone in the development of civil aviation in the country.

Comac ARJ21

The ARJ21 will now be entering a more crowded regional-jet market dominated by the likes of Brazil’s Embraer SA and Canada’s Bombardier Inc. Russia’s Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Co. also manufactures a regional jet, while Japan’s Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. will present a challenge with a new 70-to-90 seater.

COMAC estimates that the ARJ21 will seize up to almost 60 percent of the domestic market for mid-size regional aircraft in the coming 20 years, competing with Bombardier and Embraer.

COMAC Chairman Jin Zhuanglong said in a statement that they will continue to improve the design of the aircraft, engage at a serialized and industrialized pace, and develop domestic and overseas markets. He further added that the company will make efforts to develop the ARJ-21 as a new calling card for the country’s high-end equipment manufacturing industry.

China has been yearning to build itself as a global supplier of aircraft and is also working on the C919 narrow-body jet, which in the future will compete against Boeing Co’s 737 and Airbus Group SE’s A320. It also plans to manufacture a larger wide body aircraft in a joint venture with Russia.

However, it has been lagging behind due to inexperience, lack of engineering talent, scarcity of local aerospace design as well as insufficient technology in the home-grown companies that can help drive the project, according to aerospace industry sources. These issues have resulted in several delays for both the C919 and the ARJ-21.

The new COMAC plane, which can seat nearly 90 passengers and a maximum travel of over 1,242 miles, was permitted to fly domestically by the country’s civil aviation regulators at the end of 2015, which is more than ten years behind its original schedule.

It has not yet received certification from other regulators such as the United States’ Federal Aviation Administration, which means it can’t be exported to major Western markets. So, only airlines in the country and the ones that recognize the Chinese certification process in certain developing countries in Asia, Africa, and South America will be able to operate the aircraft.

The jet has more than 300 orders, mainly from domestic carriers, according to COMAC. General Electric Co’s aviation division supplies the engines, and its leasing firm has booked five planes with options for twenty more. Other main customers for the new aircraft include domestic companies such as Henan Airlines, Shandong Airlines and Joy Air, and international carriers including Myanmar National Airlines and Lao Airlines.

Christy Gren
Christy Gren is an Industry Specialist Reporter at Industry Leaders Magazine she enjoys writing about Unicorns, Silicon Valley, Startups, Business Leaders and Innovators. Her articles provide an insight about the Power Players in the field of Technology, Auto, Manufacturing, and F&B.

Recent Posts

Supply chain crisis bad news for automotive industry leaders

Supply chain crisis bad news for automotive industry leaders

The world’s biggest car companies are on track to lose production of 7.7 million vehicles in 2021. The forecast advices automakers on supply chain and other issues.
2 days ago
Scammers dupe Apple fans with free bitcoin lure

Scammers dupe Apple fans with free bitcoin lure

Savvy scammers used a fake event stream, a fake Apple website, and the promise of free bitcoin to lure fans into opening up their wallets.
3 days ago
Japan’s MUFG offloads Union Bank to U.S. Bancorp for $7.3 billion

Japan’s MUFG offloads Union Bank to U.S. Bancorp for $7.3 billion

The total amount of cash to be received as part of MUFG Union Bank’s sale to Bancorp is $7.3 billion (800 billion yen).
4 days ago
Evergrande: A black swan event that could spook markets

Evergrande: A black swan event that could spook markets

EverGrande is now known as the “world’s most indebted property developer” and serves as a symbol of corporate excess.
5 days ago
Moderna vaccine more effective than Pfizer, study says

Moderna vaccine more effective than Pfizer, study says

Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine does a slightly better job of preventing coronavirus-related hospitalizations and emergency department visits.
7 days ago
iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro: Specifications, Release Date, Features and much more

iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro: Specifications, Release Date, Features and much more

Apple iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max can be a hit with its ever new technology A15 Bionic chip and other cool profound features.
1 week ago