After more than a decade of development, China’s first homegrown airliner has finally earned approval from the country’s government to carry passengers.
The ARJ21-700, from China’s government-owned aircraft manufacturer, Comac, is designed to compete with offerings from western aeroplane makers.
First test flown in 2008, the ARJ21-700 has overcome a series of design setbacks and production delays.
According to Aviation Week, the first two production jets will be delivered to Chengdu Airlines in April or May of 2015. Whether the ARJ21 will become a truly effective passenger carrier remains to be seen, but it will definitely force the competition to take notice.
Comac is also working on an even larger airliner -- the C919. It will compete with the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320.
Boeing expects Chinese demand for passenger jets over the next two decades to be valued at around $780 billion.
The ARJ21 is expected to operate in the harsh terrain of western China, where there's a lack of rail service.
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