The main body of China's first domestically designed and manufactured commercial aircraft was completed in Shanghai yesterday.
The Advanced Regional Jet 21 - a small feeder plane - is estimated to cost its maker, China Aviation Industry Corporation I, five billion yuan (US$657 million) and will be finished by the end of the year, officials said yesterday.
The jet stands 8.4 meters tall and is 33.5 meters long. It can seat up to 90 passengers.
At yesterday's ceremony, the front, middle and tail sections of the plane were put together, marking the completion of the plane's exterior design.
Engineers at the Baoshan District workshop of the Shanghai Aircraft Manufacturing Factory, where the aircraft is being assembled, still need to complete the plane's interior. The factory is affiliated with AVIC 1.
The first test flight has been scheduled for March next year, and AVIC 1 plans to deliver the planes to customers by September 2009. It has received 71 domestic orders for the ARJ21-700 series so far but hopes to secure international orders by the end of the year.
A prototype of the ARJ21 is on show at the Shanghai International Aerospace Technology and Equipment Exhibition, from July 5 to 7 at the Shanghai Exhibition Center.
(Shanghai Daily June 29, 2007)