The ARJ21 takes off on its maiden flight on Tuesday. (Photo/COMAC Weibo)
China's first commercial regional jet, the ARJ21, took maiden flight from Chengdu city in southwestern China's Sichuan Province to Beijing on Tuesday, marking a landmark success.
According to the official Sina Weibo of its manufacturer Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), the aircraft, coded B-3321, was ready with its crewmembers from Chengdu Airlines at 7:53 a.m. and it took off after 9 a.m. By Tuesday noon, the ARJ21 landed in Shanghai, completing its maiden flight.
A total of 70 passengers were on board, China Central Television reported.
The ARJ21 was delivered to Chengdu Airlines in November 2015. The airlines said during a press conference Monday that the jet has passed through authorities' examination and that it could be put into use for commercial flights at any time, according to COMAC website.
The Chengdu Airlines said the ARJ21 has a lower cost per seat than similar models of Airbus and Boeing models. More jets are expected to be used to fly on seven routes, including Chengdu-Shenzhen, Chengdu-Changsha and Chengdu-Guizhou amongst others, the website noted.
He Peiwen, Chengdu Airlines deputy manager, said that the jets will later be put into operations on routes to Southeast Asian destinations last November, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
COMAC received more than 300 orders from 19 airlines, including three from the Republic of Congo.
The plane is China's first regional jet to be manufactured according to international standards and it is expected to compete with Airbus 320 and Boeing 737. It was put through six years of grueling tests before being awarded airworthiness certificates from the Civil Aviation Administration of China, and the US Federal Aviation Agency, according to Xinhua.