Three large airlines ink deals for 105 ARJ21s
Three major Chinese airlines have signed agreements to buy a total of 105 ARJ21-700s, China's first domestically developed regional jet, to better tap the demands on regional flights.
Air China, China Eastern and China Southern purchased 35 ARJ21s each from the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, the jet's developer based in Shanghai, the carriers said in their statements.
The new deals made the total orders for the ARJ21 to 596 from 22 customers from both home and abroad, according to COMAC.
Each ARJ21 is sold at US$38 million including the aircraft body and engines. COMAC has offered discounts to the airlines.
The 105 jets will be delivered to the carriers between 2020 and 2024. China Eastern and China Southern said they will take over three ARJ21s each in 2020, six in 2021, eight in 2022 and nine in 2023 and 2024. Air China has not released its delivery plan.
The airlines said the regional jets can help meet the market demand and enhance their regional transportation capacities.
China Eastern will mainly let its business aviation branch operate the ARJ21s, the Shanghai-based carrier said.
So far, COMAC has delivered 14 ARJ21s, including four newly delivered this year, to its first and major operator, Chengdu Airlines, and Genghis Khan Airlines in Inner Mongolia.
Urumqi Air will become the third operator of the ARJ21. The carrier, which is based in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, said the aircraft is suitable for the low temperatures and elevated terrain of northwest China.
More than 100 ARJ21s will be delivered in the next five years to challenge the domination of Bombardier and Embraer in regional services, COMAC said.
The ARJ21-700 has a range of up to 3,700 kilometers. It acquired its certification in December 2014 and completed its maiden flight in June 2016. Mass production started in September 2017.