Program delays continue with the ARJ21 program

The continuing saga of program delays continue with the ARJ21 program in China. After failing to meet many of the program’s goals declared at the beginning of 2011, the Comac ARJ21-700 regional jet is finally ready to enter the type inspection authorisation (TIA) stage, nine years after the project began.

COMAC ARJ-21 Prototype B-1110L. Photographed by Peng Chen

COMAC ARJ-21 Prototype B-1110L. Photographed by Peng Chen

Comac said in a statement that the aircraft had undergone several airworthiness certification flight tests in 2011 as well as static tests that were completed on April 14, 2011. Also, the program completed crosswind landing tests on May 24th, 2011 as well. Flutter testing on the ARJ21 started on April 4th, 2011 and also was completed successfully, though behind the original 2011 program schedule.

Launch customer Chengdu Airlines was due to receive its first aircraft by the end of 2011, but the ongoing delays in the certification process have pushed back this event by up to a year.

In August, company officials said that they faced “problems” during the icing tests on the aircraft and that they could not complete them by a mid-2011 deadline. Stalling speed tests had also not begun by the deadline and as a result the program’s delays have extended to the point were it is entirely possible that the first delivery of an airframe to any operator may not occur until 2013.

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