By Bulent Imat
The three main Chinese airlines receive the first COMAC ARJ21 plane
On Sunday, the three largest Chinese airlines – Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines – took delivery of the ARJ21 aircraft from COMAC, the first Chinese regional jet. The 90-seat short-haul aircraft is manufactured by the state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC). The three largest Chinese airlines are expected to receive their second ARJ21 by the end of 2020.
“The ARJ21 has been officially incorporated into the fleets of Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines,” COMAC said in a statement. declaration done sunday.
The manufacturer was created to end the dominance of Bombardier and Embraer in the regional jet market. According to the company, more than 100 ARJ21s will be delivered over the next five years.
The manufacturer and the airlines have set the delivery date for June 28, the fourth anniversary of the entry into commercial service of the first ARJ21 with its first operator, Chengdu Airlines. With 32 aircraft, the airline based in Chengdu, China, is currently the largest operator of its kind.
Air China, China Eastern and China Southern ordered 35 ARJ21 each in August 2019. A total of 105 Chinese-made aircraft will be delivered to Chinese carriers between 2020 and 2024.
Major Chinese airlines have received their very first aircraft made in China at the Pudong base, COMAC assembly and manufacturing center. The simultaneous delivery of the three aircraft marks the official entry of the ARJ21 aircraft into the fleets of the main Chinese airlines.
“According to market demand, Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, combined with their own fleet planning and route configuration, made the special selection and sent experienced engineers to strictly supervise the manufacturing process from the plane. The three ARJ21 aircraft delivered to Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines all have a 90-seat economy class layout. This year, Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines will each receive three other ARJ21 aircraft, “continued COMAC’s statement.
Air China officials have made all necessary preparations for the introduction of ARJ21 aircraft, creating a special division for the new airliner to manage fleet construction, training, and personnel, according to Air China officials. , logistics support, aircraft maintenance and flight crew.
The Chinese standard bearer will operate 35 ARJ21s by 2024, mainly between Beijing, the capital, and cities in Inner Mongolia.
“The introduction of ARJ21 aircraft will provide stronger support to Air China to further expand its route network, optimize its fleet structure and improve its competitive advantage,” the airline said in a prepared statement.
A new airline for new jets
On February 26, China Eastern renamed its business aircraft division – China Eastern Business Jet – to 123 Aviation, which is also known as OTT Airlines. The airline’s new subsidiary will primarily operate domestically produced ARJ21 and C919. The idea behind the creation of the subsidiary is that the company wants to protect its brand image from the damage caused by the operation of these small jets, which are largely untested from the point of view of the customer experience. OTT Airlines plans to operate 35 ARJ21 aircraft by 2025.
“Building on its regional advantages in Shanghai, China Eastern has created 123 Aviation to begin a new journey, which will focus on market-oriented home appliance operations,” the airline said in a statement on Sunday. The airline is aiming for a smooth launch of its first ARJ21, adding its second aircraft after gaining experience in operating the aircraft. China Southern also plans to take delivery of 35 ARJ21s by 2024.
Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines have large fleets and extensive coverage of the route network. The major Chinese airlines have added their first ARJ21s to promote the model in a wider international market and illustrate its usefulness for other potential customers. The Federal Aviation Administration and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency have not yet certified the COMAC ARJ121 jet.