The first operator, Comac subsidiary Chengdu Airlines, will receive its first unit from the manufacturer late this year or early next year, says the carrier’s deputy general manager, Luo Ning. After that, further preparations will be made before operations begin in April or May, Luo tells local media.
The ARJ21 has been delayed probably more times than even Comac can count. As recently as August last year the first delivery was due in June 2014. When full-scale development began in April 2002, the first delivery was due in 2006, although within weeks that target had been shifted to 2007.
Among the more recent problems, unexpectedly high landing weight forced redesign of the landing gear by supplier Liebherr. Before that, the ARJ21’s mainplane failed its ultimate load test and needed redesign.