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Aircraft Service Center Opens in Shanghai

The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd (CACC) opened its service center in Shanghai on Tuesday, as China's home-made aircraft ARJ21 is ready for test flights.

Known as the Shanghai Aircraft Customer Service Co Ltd, it is located in the Zizhu Science Industrial Park in Minhang district. The center will provide aircraft maintenance and repairs, pilot training, aviation equipment, leasing and consultation.

Earlier this year, CACC announced it would be manufacturing aircraft with a take-off weight of more than 100 tons and capable of accommodating more than 150 seats.

Jin Zhuanglong, CACC's general manager, said since the launch of the company in May, its jumbo jet program had been progressing steadily, and feasibility studies had begun.

The company has hired a team of domestic and overseas professionals to work on the aircraft's design and manufacture.

CACC's chairman, Zhang Qingwei, said the first trial flight will be held at Shanghai's Pudong International Airport. However, he declined to give a date.

Meanwhile, China's first domestically produced commercial regional jet, also manufactured by CACC, is scheduled for its maiden test flight at the end of next month.

The ARJ21 has entered the final stages of development, with test pilots putting the aircraft through it paces.

For its final test, the aircraft will be equipped with passenger seats.

"Everything is ready. I'm confident of a smooth maiden flight," Zhang said.

The ARJ21, which is expected to sell for between US$27 million and US$29 million, can seat 70 to 110 passengers and has a maximum range of 2,000 nautical miles.

It is the world's first aircraft designed for China's natural environment and is capable of landing and taking off in extreme weather conditions. So far the company has received 200 orders.

(China Daily October 9, 2008)

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