Nov 29, 2008

World - China's first home made jet flies

China successfully flight tested its first home-grown commercial airliner.

The ARJ-21's maiden flight lasted one hour and the aircraft did not rise above 900 metres in altitude due to safety reasons.

The 90-seat jet flew out of a local Shanghai airport and its manufacturer expects it to fly distances up to 3,700km.

Each jet will cost $27m (£22.6m) and first deliveries are expected to take place within 18 months.

Secured Orders

The plane is being manufactured in Shanghai.

The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China say they have secured over 200 orders and last month gained five firm orders from GE Commercial Aviation Services who have an option for a further 20 jets.

It's general manager Jin Zhuanglong said: "With less fuel consumption and longer flight hours, the ARJ-21 will reduce air fares by 8% to 10% for Chinese airlines, most of whom currently use large aircraft above 140 seats on short and medium routes."

One of the three pilots on board, Zhao Peng, said "The jet was normal and the flight was smooth."

The jet will face competition from international manufacturers such as Bombardier, Embraer, Airbus and Boeing.

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