China postpones maiden flight of regional jet ARJ21 by six months

China's aerospace giant, AVIC I Commercial Aircraft Co (ACAC), a subsidiary of AVIC I, has said that it will postpone the first flight of its locally developed regional airliner, the ARJ21, by at least six months to September/October period this year. ACAC said that "supplier[s] of key systems were not able to provide necessary test conditions on time."

The ARJ21 was originally scheduled to take to the skies in March.

ARJ21The ACAC consortium now says that it is making efforts to ensure that the delivery of key systems is on schedule. "While we are disappointed with this delay, we expect to fly the ARJ21-700 regional jet in September or October of this year, and with the efforts from every party, we will try our best to avoid development issues to delay entry into service," president Luo Ronghuai said.

The first 90-seat -700 is expected to be delivered to Shandong Airlines in September 2009.

So far, ACAC has received 181 orders for the ARJ21-700, including the first order from a western customer, GE Commercial Aviation Services (GECAS), which last week signed an MoU for five aircraft with options for another 20.

It may be mentioned that General Electric's CF34-10A engine will power the ARJ21 regional jet.