Home' Asian Aviation : AAV November 2010 Contents Manufacturers
will o er 16 percent lower fuel consumption than its
predecessors. CFM says it is targeting certi cation for
the Leap-X1C in 2014.
Among the rival engine bids was Pratt & Whitney,
which had proposed its PurePower PW1000G geared
turbofan (GTF) engine. e GTF engine has been
selected by Bombardier to power its proposed CSeries
In the wake of the announcement, CFM said it was
planning to set up an engine nal assembly line in China.
As the programme builds momentum, several
other supplier agreements have already been signed.
Honeywell has been selected to supply the aircra 's
y-by-wire control system, as well as wheels and brakes.
Avionics will be supplied by GE Aviation, while Eaton
will provide fuel and hydraulic systems. In August,
Comac chose a Chinese subsidiary of Austria's FACC
to supply the jetliner's interiors, including ceiling panels,
luggage bins, windows, lavatories and galleys.
FACC (China) is to begin operations at the end of
2010 in Zhenjiang , Jiangsu province. A majority of the
Austrian company was acquired by Xi'an Aircra -- a
unit of Comac's parent Aviation Industry Corporation
of China (AVIC) in 2009.
In 2009, Comac named Hongdu Aviation and
Harbin Aircra as local production partners in the
programme. Hongdu -- also known as Nanchang aircra
-- will be making fuselage components, while Harbin,
best known for helicopter production, will make some
of the jetliner's composite fairings and moving surfaces.
Hongdu began manufacturing work on C919 fuselage
sections in August.
Shenyang Aircraft will manufacture the C919's
empennage, while the nose will be built by Chengdu
Aircra . e cockpit, wings and main fuselage section
are to be built by Xi'an Aircra . All three of those
companies already make parts for COMAC's other
major development programme : the ARJ21.
China's home-built regional jet is being developed in
two versions: the ARJ21-700, seating 78 passengers
in a typical two-class layout, and the bigger, 98-seat
-900 series. Extended-range, freighter and business-
jet versions of the aircra are also being considered
In single-class all-economy con gurations, the
-700 would seat up to 85 passengers and the -900
as many as 105.
e ARJ21 is designed to cruise at Mach 0.78 at
35,000 , with a standard range of 2,200km and a
maximum take-o weight of 40,500kg for the -700
version. e -900 will o er a maximum take-o
weight of 43,616kg for the same range. e aircra
is to have a service ceiling of 39,000 (11,900m) and
a maximum operating speed of Mach 0.82.
e -700 will require a 1,700m take-o run, with
1,750 for the -900. e aircra will be powered
by twin General Electric CF34-10A turbofans,
generating 15,332lbf of thrust for the -700 and
17,057lbf for the larger version.
e programme, which began in March 2002, has
su ered a series of delays. Originally, the rst ight
was scheduled to take place in 2005, with deliveries
beginning 18 months later. But design delays meant
that the rst prototype was not rolled out until
December 2007, with a rst ight scheduled for
at target, too, fell by the wayside. e ight was rst
delayed to 21 September, then nally took place on 28
November 2008 at Dachang airport, Shanghai.
A cross-country ight was then completed on 15 July
2009, with the aircra ying 1,300km from Shanghai
to Xi'an in 2 hours and 19 minutes. is route was later
also own by the second test aircra -- serial number
102 -- on 24 August.
Two more prototypes have since joined the ight-test
programme. In August, the manufacturer said it had
completed 540 hours of ight testing on the aircra .
e rst production-standard CF34-10A engine is
scheduled for delivery in the fourth quarter of this year.
Aircra deliveries are now expected to begin in early
2011, with production rising from an initial rate of 11 a
year to 30 by 2015.
The ARJ21 has a strong resemblance in its
configuration to the McDonnell Douglas MD-90
aircra -- indeed it is being built using tooling rst
provided by McDonnell Douglas for the defunct
Trunkliner programme. In the end, that programme
only led to two aircra being built in China, out of a
planned total of 40.
at resemblance is borne out in design similarities
in the ARJ21's nose, fuselage and tail to the MD-90.
e aircra does, however, have an all-new supercritical
wing , tted with winglets to improve aerodynamic
COMAC claims that it has won more than 200 orders
for the ARJ21 to date. However, some of those included
in that tally are, in fact, preliminary agreements such as
meoranda of understanding (MoUs) or letters of intent.
Still, one MoU signed in Indonesia in May hints
that the South-East Asian country could become the
aircra 's biggest export market. Indonesian mining
company Merukh Enterprises signed an agreement
with AVIC International covering the acquisition of
nine AR21s, alongside 24 Harbin Y-12IV turboprops
and six Avicopter H425 helicopters.
Merukh is planning to allocate the aircra to its
recently acquired aviation subsidiaries, Dirganara Air
Ser vices and Sabang Merauke Air Charter.
At the December 2007 roll-out of the rst ARJ21, the
manufacturer announced its biggest order to date, from
Shenzhen Airlines' Kunpeng Airlines unit -- now called
Henan Airlines -- which placed a rm order for 50 of the
regional jets, with another 50 options. is airline is to
be the rst operator of the ARJ21.
Originally, the regional jet's launch customer was
supposed to be Shandong Airlines, which ordered 10
ARJ21s, but later deferred delivery without naming
a new schedule. A further 20 orders have come from
Shenzhen Finance Leasing, with Xiamen Airlines taking
ten aircra and another ve going to Shanghai Airlines.
ere is concern, however, that the Shanghai order
may be in doubt, since the carrier is now being taken over
by China Eastern Airlines, which will doubtless review
aircra orders as it seeks to restore Shanghai Airlines'
An order for ve of the regional jets has been placed
by GE Commercial Aviation Services, although some
obser vers question whether the lessor and Shenzhen
Finance will be able to nd customers for the aircra in
China, as the country's regional aviation sector is sorely
With 152 commercial airports in the country,
only about 47 of them handle 96 percent of China's
air tra c. e nation has 98 airports that handle
fewer than 10 ights a day. Comac is counting on
the government's infrastructure development e orts
to make regional aircra more attractive to China's
domestic carriers. n
Established aircraft manufacturers now see the proposed C919 jetliner as a serious threat.
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