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30 ARJ jets to be delivered by 2012

CHINA'S first homemade regional jet, the ARJ21, has started mass production and 30 planes will be delivered to clients by 2012, according to the state-run Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China.

The plane maker will deliver the first five planes next year, 10 planes in 2011 and the remaining 15 planes in 2012, said Luo Ronghuai, vice general manager of the company.

Shanghai Aircraft Manufacturing Factory, which assembles the ARJ (Advanced Regional Jet), has signed contracts with four factories to produce the jets, including Xi'an Aircraft International Corp which will supply as much as 3.26 billion yuan (US$477 million) worth of components.

The plane maker has received 208 orders for the 90-seat jet from domestic and overseas buyers, including GE Commercial Aviation Service, which bought 25 planes in a deal valued at 5 billion yuan.

The ARJ jet's maiden flight was in November and four more jets will begin trials this year in Shanghai and Xi'an. The 33-meter-long jet has a maximum range of 3,700 kilometers and a maximum altitude of 11,900 meters.

There's demand for regional jets due to their fuel efficiency on shorter routes, said a report on the Chinese commercial airplane market released by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China. From 2008 to 2027, Chinese airlines will need to add 2,822 jumbo jets and 993 regional jets to their fleets, it said.


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