China’s first modern jetliner has finally entered airline service

COMAC ARJ21 Chengdu AirlinesChengdu Airlines ARJ21-700 at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport.REUTERS/Aly Song

After more than a decade of development, China’s first homegrown airliner has officially entered commercial service.

The production Comac ARJ21-700 operated by Chengdu Airlines completed its first revenue flight on Tuesday. According to AP, the ARJ entered service with a two-hour flight from Chengdu to Shanghai’s Hongqiao International Airport.

The ARJ21-700, from China’s government-owned aircraft manufacturer, Comac, is designed to compete with offerings from Western airplane makers.

“The first flight of the ARJ21 marks the beginning of commercial, or passenger, operations for the ARJ21 and signifies the first time a domestically made regional jet has been used by a Chinese airline,” COMAC chairman Jin Zhuanglong told the AP.

First test-flown in 2008, the ARJ21-700 has overcome a series of design setbacks and production delays. Whether the ARJ21 will become a truly effective passenger carrier remains to be seen, but it will definitely force the competition to take notice.

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