China's First Modern Airliner Has Finally Been Cleared To Fly

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.

The ARJ21-700 is a 90-seat short/medium range regional jet.

It's expected to have a range of around 2,000 miles.

Its main competitors include the Bombardier CRJ-900 and the Embraer E175.

The ARJ21 employs the standard regional jet layout of twin rear-mounted engines with a t-tail.

The aircraft's wings are equipped with winglets for increased range and efficiency.

It will be powered by a pair of General Electric CF34 turbofan engines.

In addition to the 700, Comac plans to build a larger ARJ21-900 in the coming years.

Comac is also working on an even larger airliner -- the C919. It will compete with the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320.

The ARJ21 completed its North American flight tests in April of this year.

The jet is expected to be produced in Comac's Shanghai production facility.

The ARJ's cabin will feature 5-across seating.

It will also have an advanced glass cockpit with Honeywell fly-by-wire control technology.

China's first foray into commercial jet travel in the 1970s, the Y-10, never made it into service.

Comac intends to focus ARJ21 sales on Chinese domestic carriers.

Boeing expects Chinese demand for passenger jets over the next two decades to be valued at around $780 billion.

According to manufacturer, it has already taken 252 orders for the ARJ21.

The first two production ARJ21-700s have been completed for Chengdu Airlines.

The ARJ21 is expected to operate in the harsh terrain of western China, where there's a lack of rail service.

Comac expects the ARJ to fully comply with Chinese, American and European regulations.

Comac has not disclosed the sale price for the ARJ21.

The C919 will seat 168 passengers and have a range of roughly 3000 miles.

Comac already has over 400 orders from 16 different customers for the C919.

These planes have been flying for a while...

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.