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Learning English - Words in the News
 
28 November, 2008 - Published 14:30 GMT
 
Chinese plane maiden flight
 
China's ARJ-21 regional jet was unveiled in March 2007

China's first home produced commercial airliner has flown for the first time. The 90 seat ARJ-21 made a maiden test flight from an airport in the Shanghai region. This report is from the BBC's Business Correspondent Mark Gregory:

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China has ambitious plans to develop civil aircraft manufacturing. Eventually the aim is to challenge Boeing and Airbus, the dominant Western plane makers. The first step is a small regional jet - the ARJ-21, also known as the Flying Phoenix - designed to take 90 passengers on short and medium length journeys.

It's the first Chinese designed and manufactured commercial jet. And in a little piece of history it's now made its maiden test flight from an airport near Shanghai. Chinese media reports said the flight went extremely well, although for safety reasons the aircraft wasn't allowed to fly more than 900 meters, about 3,000 feet, above the ground.

It's due to go into service within 18 months. The main market will be Chinese airlines operating routes within China, but earlier this month the plane got its first foreign order. The American industrial giant General Electric is buying five of the jets for its aircraft leasing arm, with an option to buy 20 more later.

Friday's test flight took place more than six months later than originally planned after reports of problems with components provided by outside suppliers.

Mark Gregory, BBC

Listen to the words

ambitious plans
desire and intentions to become very successful

civil aircraft manufacturing
the production of airplanes that will be used for carrying passengers

Eventually the aim is
here, China's long-term goal/objective is; in the future China would like

dominant
here, that are used more widely than others

jet
a powerful airplane which has engines that allow it to travel very fast covering long distances

in a little piece of history
doing something that will be remembered for a long time

maiden
first ever

It's due to go into service
the plan is that it will start carrying passengers on regular flights

arm
here, a (commercial) division, sub-organisation or department

outside suppliers
here, companies other than the main manufacturer which produce and deliver parts that are used to build planes



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