China’s ARJ21 Gains Production Certificate

 - July 11, 2017, 4:33 PM
Chengdu Airlines' first ARJ21 takes off from Shanghai. (Photo: Comac)

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has issued certification for serial production of the Comac ARJ21-700, meaning the manufacturer can now deliver airplanes without the need to gain a separate certificate for each example. The approval, issued on July 9, comes some two and a half years after the airplane gained its type certificate and more than a year and a half after launch customer Chengdu Airlines took first delivery. Now flying two of the airplanes in a 90-seat configuration, Chengdu expects to receive five more of an order for 30 by the end of the year.

During a delivery ceremony in Shanghai, CAAC deputy director Li Jian said he hoped the issuance of the production certificate would mark a “new starting point” for Comac, from where the company could concentrate on solving problems that surfaced during the airplane’s operation. He also called for “an attitude of being responsible to the party and the people,” and for Comac to further integrate design, production and services into safety and operation management systems. He added that that the CAAC would support the ARJ21 program as always, and regulate for continuous improvement in production and operation “to ensure that the aircraft operates safely and smoothly and achieves commercial success.”

Also speaking during the July 9 ceremony, Comac president He Dongfeng promised to develop the ARJ21 into an aircraft that “airlines are willing to purchase, pilots are willing to fly and [on which] passengers are willing to ride.” He added that Comac intends to accelerate production to satisfy the shortage of Chinese civil aircraft and make new contributions to building China into a manufacturing power.

Yang Shuanchang, deputy director general of the equipment industry department of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), said the ARJ21 will help serve as the basis for development of other civil airplanes such as the C919, which flew for the first time on May 5. Schedules now call for that airplane to gain Chinese certification in 2019.

Comac claims to have accumulated orders for 413 ARJ21s from 19 customers.