Made in China plane makes first com­mer­cial flight

Pakistan Observer - - ECONOMY WATCH -

BEI­JING—China’s home­grown re­gional jet made its first com­mer­cial flight Tues­day, op­er­a­tor Chengdu Air­lines said, af­ter years of de­lays raised ques­tions about the coun­try’s am­bi­tious plans for do­mes­ti­cally-pro­duced planes. Chengdu Air­lines flew the ARJ21 from its epony­mous home base, the cap­i­tal of the south­west­ern prov­ince of Sichuan, to the com­mer­cial hub Shang­hai car­ry­ing 70 pas­sen­gers. More than half were pay­ing cus­tomers who were aware they were flying in a new plane, an air­line spokesman told AFP.

The ARJ21—which stands for Ad­vanced Re­gional Jet for the 21st Cen­tury—will ferry fly­ers on the Cheng­duShang­hai route three times a week, he added. The in­au­gu­ral flight was the cul­mi­na­tion of a 14-year pro­gramme to make China a com­mer­cial air­craft man­u­fac­turer ca­pable of com­pet­ing with dom­i­nant for­eign play­ers Boe­ing and Air­bus. But the air­craft still lacks the cru­cial US Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion (FAA) cer­ti­fi­ca­tion that would al­low it to fly in US skies, and most man­u­fac­tur­ers do not yet view the COMAC plane as a com­pet­i­tive threat.—AFP

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