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Home-made Xiangfeng jet ready to roll
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China's first home-made regional jet ARJ21, or Xiangfeng, will roll off the production line today in Shanghai and the achievement will give the country a powerful presence in the commercial aviation market.


An inauguration ceremony will be held at the newly-revamped Shanghai Aircraft Manufacturing Factory on Changzhong Road today. A 600-million-yuan (US$81.5-million) assembly facility covering 65,000 square meters was completed at the factory on Wednesday for the ARJ21 which has been named Xiangfeng.


Xiangfeng, which means flying phoenix, is the most popular name collated from an online voting by 400,000 Internet users.


The mid-size, short-haul airliner's maiden flight is scheduled for March 2008 and its producer and designer, China Aviation Industry Corp I, plans to deliver the planes to customers by September, 2009.


The jet, which can seat 90 passengers, has received 71 orders from domestic carriers and aircraft leasing companies.


The ARJ project, which dates back to early 2005, is seen as a precursor to China building its own big jets one day. The entire development costs six billion yuan.


(Shanghai Daily December 21, 2007)


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