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At Asia events, C919, ARJ21 go global

By ZHU WENQIAN | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2024-02-28 08:56

A C919 passenger jet is displayed at the Singapore Airshow in Singapore. THEN CHIH WEY/XINHUA

The C919, China's domestically developed single-aisle passenger jet, and the ARJ21, a regional jet, have begun their two-week demonstration flights in Southeast Asia, indicating a brisk start to their overseas marketing, an expert said.

The two Chinese-developed aircraft started their demonstration flights at Van Don International Airport in Vietnam on Tuesday. In the two-week period, they will cover Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia, according to their manufacturer Commercial Aircraft Corp of China.

The flights will verify the adaptability of the aircraft models to airports and routes in Southeast Asia, the adaptability of ground service and equipment of local airports, the applicability of special flight procedures, and the economy of commercial operations, COMAC said.

During the events, the two aircraft will be also on static display, and COMAC will conduct product promotional activities to attract potential customers.

"By demonstrating the good performance of the aircraft models to its potential customers, COMAC hopes to gain more potential orders and lay the foundation for future market development in Southeast Asia," said Lin Zhijie, a civil aviation industry analyst.

The two planes impressed audiences and experts alike at the Singapore Airshow, the biennial event that concluded on Sunday.

The ARJ21, China's first domestically developed regional passenger jet, was put into commercial operation in 2016. The model has clocked more than 11 million passenger trips and 127 aircraft have been delivered. With a flying range of 2,225 kilometers to 3,700 km, the ARJ21 is mainly used to meet the transportation demand between major cities and surrounding smaller cities.

TransNusa Airlines, an Indonesian carrier and the first overseas customer of the ARJ21, currently operates two ARJ21 planes. Based in Jakarta, it has launched four routes using the aircraft model, and has transported more than 100,000 passenger trips. With a large number of islands, the country is suitable for the operation of regional airliners.

For Southeast Asian customers, COMAC has established a regional representative office and built a regional warehouse for aviation materials in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, in South China.

Next, relying on customers' own maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities, it will build a maintenance network. Besides, the aircraft manufacturer plans to serve Southeast Asian and global customers by setting up training bases near customers and providing customers with high-quality operational support.

The C919, comparable with the narrow-body Airbus A320 and the Boeing B737 series, has 158 to 192 seats and a flying range of 4,075 km to 5,555 km. The model made its first commercial flight in May 2023. Four C919 jets have been put into commercial operations by Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines and handled more than 130,000 passenger trips.

So far, the C919 has netted more than 1,100 orders from home and abroad. As the global air travel market continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the C919 is expected to meet growing travel demand and break the market duopoly of Boeing and Airbus.

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