China Aviation Industry Rolls Out GE-powered ARJ21-700 Regional Jet with Major Order
SHANGHAI, China -- AVIC1 Commercial Aircraft Co., Ltd. (ACAC) rolled out its new 90-passenger, GE-powered ARJ21-700 regional jet today at the Shanghai Aircraft Company assembly plant before enthusiastic Chinese government and aviation leaders.
At the ceremony, Kunpeng Airlines, a new regional airline in China, announced orders for 50 firm and 50 option ARJ21-700 regional jets.
China's ACAC developed the aircraft for both the Chinese and export markets. To date, ACAC has taken firm orders for 85 ARJ21 aircraft, powered by the GE CF34-10A engine.
ACAC sees a potential market for 850 ARJ21s over the next 20 years, representing a potential to GE of more than $4 billion in engine revenues.
"The roll-out is another important milestone in the growing relationship between China's rapidly expanding aviation industry and GE," said Scott Donnelly, president and CEO of GE Aviation, headquartered in Evendale, Ohio.
In 2002, ACAC selected GE's CF34-10A engine to power the ARJ21-700, and since then, GE and the ACAC have collaborated closely during the aircraft's detailed design and the aircraft/engine integration phases. The aircraft in scheduled to begin flight tests in the first half of 2008.
U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification of the CF34-10A is targeted for late 2008. The engine ran for the first time this past October and achieved more than 20,000 pounds of thrust.
The CF34-10A is part of GE's CF34 engine family, which is the best-selling engine in regional jet aviation. More than 5,000 CF34 engines power business jets and regional jets worldwide. The CF34-10A is about 80 percent common with the CF34-10E, which entered service in November 2005 on the EMBRAER 190/195.
The ARJ21 is part of China's dramatic aviation expansion. Fueled by economic growth, revenue passenger miles have increased significantly. There are currently 50 new airports scheduled for construction within China over the next five years to meet the higher demand.
As a result, feeder traffic - the segment serviced by regional jets - could grow 12% annually over the next 20 years. The ARJ21 is being designed to meet China's diverse environment, specifically the hot temperature and high altitude conditions on many routes in Western China. The CF34-10A technology is ideally suited to this aircraft, with thrust to meet performance requirements, and lower-cost, highly-reliable maintainability.
GE Aviation activities have grown dramatically in China over the past decade. GE is the China airline industry's largest engine supplier with almost 1,000 airliners operating in China, powered by engines from GE or CFM International, a 50/50 joint company of GE and Snecma (SAFRAN).
GE Aviation or CFM International operate now facilities in Beijing, Shanghai, Guanghan, and Xiamen. In addition, GE Aviation's purchase of jet engine components in China exceeded $200 million in 2007, a 100 percent growth in three years.
GE began working with Chinese industry in 1910, when the first GE light bulb was produced there. Today, the relationship encompasses advanced R&D, including: a new facility in Shanghai; joint ventures in high technology industries such as medical systems, plastics and lighting products; and aircraft engine maintenance facilities, training, and component manufacturing.
GE has formed more than 30 different joint ventures and employs more than 9,000 people in China, representing a $1.5 billion investment.
GE Aviation, an operating unit of General Electric Company (NYSE: GE), is a world-leading provider of commercial and military jet engines and components as well as integrated digital, electric power, and mechanical systems for aircraft. GE Aviation also has a global service network to support these offerings.