November 29, 2015 / 3:07 AM / in 3 years

China's COMAC delivers first ARJ21 jet plane to domestic airline

BEIJING, Nov 29 (Reuters) - State planemaker Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC) said on Sunday it has delivered the first ARJ21 jet to domestic low-cost carrier Chengdu Airlines, calling it a big breakthrough in China’s efforts to develop its domestic jet plane design and manufacturing capabilities.

China is keen to develop a successful commercial aircraft to rival Boeing and Airbus. But it has been held back by inexperience, a shortage of local aerospace design and engineering talent, as well as a lack of home-grown companies with the technology to help drive the project.

The ARJ21, China’s first locally built regional jet, is designed to compete against Brazil’s Embraer SA and Canada’s Bombardier Inc.

The aircraft, which seats about 90 passengers, was given permission to fly domestically by China’s civil aviation regulators at the end of last year following years of delays due to technological problems.

It has not yet been granted certification by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which will limit its access to overseas markets.

COMAC said in September it had signed a preliminary deal with ICBC Leasing to supply 10 ARJ21 jets and 10 of its C919 models to Thai airline City Airways. (Reporting by Fang Yan and David Stanway; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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