History was made yesterday as the first China-made jet landed in Shanghai after its maiden flight. Chengdu Airlines released the news of the successful first commercial flight of the aircraft manufactured in China.
The Chinese plan to produce commercial airplanes underwent repeated delays, giving rise to many rumors about the feasibility of the ambitious project. All these speculations were put to rest after the Chengdu Airlines flew the ARJ21 (Advanced Regional Jet for the 21st Century) from Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan province, to Shanghai.
There were 70 passengers on board, half of whom were paying customers aware of the maiden flight of the plane. The aircraft will travel on the Chengdu-Shanghai route thrice a week.
The 14-year-long project is an effort to make China self-sufficient in commercial aircraft manufacturing and also, to give more competition to the major industry players like Boeing and Airbus.
The next significant step for the plane will be to secure the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification which will enable it to make flights to the US. The Chinese commercial aircraft manufacturing will define the future of the aircraft industry in Asia, as well as the world.
The images of the inaugural flight of ARJ21 depict the passengers waving the Chinese flags and signing their names on a memorial banner. The project was initiated in 2002 while the first aircraft delivery was promised by 2010. After many delays, the first airplane was received from the Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China (COMAC) in November 2015.
A few test flights were run in early January, sans passengers.
ARJ21 can accommodate 78-90 passengers and can fly 2,225-3,700 kilometers. COMAC claims that it has received more than 270 orders for the ARJ21 from the domestic customers.