China's homegrown ARJ21-700 regional jet, which rolled off the production line on Dec 21 last year, as shown in this picture, will be exported to the US. [Xinhua]
China will sell 25 jets to a US company in a "breakthrough" deal that marks the country's entry into the big-plane market dominated by European and US players.
The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (CACC), which developed the ARJ21-700 regional aircraft independently, will sign a 5-billion-yuan ($735 million) contract on Tuesday, the Guangzhou Daily said yesterday.
The deal, to be inked on the opening day of the 7th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, proves China's homemade aircraft have won international recognition, experts said yesterday.
The ARJ21, an acronym for Advanced Regional Jet for the 21st Century, is China's first homemade regional jet.
Asian buyers have showed interest in ARJ21 jets, with Lao Airlines having signed a letter of intent to buy two, CACC said in May.
But "it is very difficult to enter North America and Europe," Chen Fusheng said over the phone. Chen is in charge of marketing another homemade turboprop aircraft, MA600.
"Their (US and Europe's) markets are mature, and aircraft makers have to pass time-consuming and high-standard tests before selling their planes," he said.
The deal shows global buyers have confidence in ARJ21, Chen Jin, a CACC marketing manager, was quoted by Guangzhou Daily as having said.
The ARJ21 can carry 70 to 110 passengers, and rolled out of a Shanghai factory in December last year. It has yet to take its maiden commercial flight and get a certificate from the US-based Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Under the circumstances, signing of the contract shows the buyers are confident of Chinese planes' performance, Chen Fusheng said.
The ARJ21-700 has a maximum range of 2,000 nautical miles, and is scheduled to take its first commercial flight by the end of November, Xinhua said.
(China Daily October 31, 2008)