A major milestone in the growth of the Comac ARJ21-70 aircraft has now been completed, with all three of the major Chinese airlines now having taken delivery of the type.
The indigenous airliner was introduced in 2016 when Chengdu Airlines took delivery of the first example.
Since then around 40 have been built, the majority for Chengdu Airlines, with the type operating mostly on domestic services.
Now, the first examples have been handed over to Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines – the country’s three principle carriers.
B-605U, Air China.
B-123A, OTT Airlines (China Eastern)
B-605W, China Southern Airlines.
At a ceremony at Shanghai Pudong, the three carriers’ aircraft were lined up side-by-side for the handover.
Each airline has ordered 35 examples of the ARJ21-700, which resembles the Douglas DC-9/McDonnell Douglas MD-87. They will become one of the mainstays of the domestic fleets of these carriers. It is hoped by Comac that they will challenge the dominance of Bombardier and Embraer in the regional jet market, whilst their upcoming Comac C919 is hoped to challenge the Airbus A220, A320 and Boeing 737 families.
The China Eastern aircraft in the ceremony is actually in the colours of OTT Airlines – a new Chinese low-cost carrier (see our article here) which will operate the ARJ21s and serve the Yangtze River Delta region.