COMAC celebrated the delivery of the first ARJ21 yesterday to launch customer Chengdu Airlines during a special ceremony in Shanghai, China. The delivery of the ARJ21-700, powered by GE CF34-10A engines, was witnessed by hundreds of employees, suppliers and guests – exactly seven years after it took its first flight.
The delivery ceremony was hosted by VP Luo Ronghuai, the general director of the ARJ21 program and VP of COMAC, in the final assembly center of COMAC. Miao Wei – Minister of Industry and Information Technology, Yang Xiong – Major of Shanghai, Li Jian – Vice Minister of CAAC and Jin Zhuanglong – Chairman of COMAC all made their speeches to celebrate this big milestone for the Chinese aviation industry, and also for China. Minister Miao also passed on the warm greetings from Vice Premier Ma Kai to all in attendance.
The first ARJ21-700 (B-3321) departed from Shanghai for Chengdu right after the ceremony and landed smoothly at Shuangliu Airport in Chengdu at 13:23, greeted by the GE Field Service Engineering team.
COMAC launched the ARJ21 program in 2002 and selected GE’s CF34-10A engine as the sole power for this aircraft. The aircraft is a key part of China’s 5-year plan (2001-2005) and to their connectivity and cooperation among countries in Eurasia – also known as “One Belt. One Road.” Since 2002, GE and COMAC have collaborated during the detailed design, integration, testing and certification phases of the aircraft/engine program. To date, COMAC has announced over 300 orders of the ARJ21 regional jet aircraft.
“We appreciate all the suppliers’ cooperation, especially GE Aviation’s great support along the whole way as we’ve been working together on the aircraft program for so many years.” said Luo Ronghuai, general director of the ARJ21 program and vice president of COMAC. Bill Fitzgerald, VP & GM Commercial Engines, said “Since the Joint Definition Phase started in early 2003, our teams have worked diligently to make this engine/aircraft combination a reality. Being part of the first indigenous aircraft developed in China has been a rewarding experience for all of us at GE and we are proud to support the ARJ21 program – a fantastic technical collaboration between COMAC and GE.”
The aircraft will enter service with Chengdu Airlines in roughly 90 days’ time. The airline, a subsidiary of COMAC and an all-Airbus operator until now, will initially take delivery of five of the 30 ARJ21-700s it has on order. Those five regional jets are expected to operate domestic routes from Chengdu to Shanghai Pudong, Nanjing, Kunming, Xi’an, Guiyang, Beijing and Wuhan.