COMAC delivers first domestically built ARJ21 regional jet to a foreign airline

Shimin Gu / Wikimedia Commons

Chinese state-owned aerospace manufacturer Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) has delivered a single ARJ21 domestically built regional jet to Indonesian low-cost carrier TransNusa, its first foreign customer.

The move marked the first delivery of Chinese-made aircraft to a foreign market, COMAC explained in its statement released on December 18, 2022. Equipped with 95 seats in an all-economy class layout, the ARJ21-700 jet, registered PK-TJA, is the first of 30 COMAC planes ordered by the airline in December 2021 under a long-term lease agreement with China Aircraft Leasing Company (CALC). The airline also secured the option to order another 30 jets of the type.

The jet is painted with a blue, yellow, and green livery and features the Indonesian flag, while the cabin interior includes leather passenger seats, COMAC added.

PK-TJA will support TransNusa’s plans for route expansion by launching flights to new destinations in Bali, Jakarta, and Yogyakarta. Meanwhile, the remaining 29 ARJ21 planes are scheduled to gradually join the Jakarta-based low-cost carrier by 2026. 

According to the data, TransNusa’s current aircraft fleet consists of two Airbus A320-200s and a single A320neo plane.

The ARJ21 family

First rolled out in December 2007, the ARJ21 jet was granted its type certificate by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) in December 2014. 

The regional jet looks similar to the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 single-aisle airliner and features a 25-degree swept supercritical wing designed by Antonov as well as twin rear-mounted General Electric CF34 engines. However, COMAC claims that the plane design is a completely independent intellectual property of China.

With a range of 3,700 kilometers (around 2,299 miles), the ARJ21-700 regional jet is a baseline aircraft model with seating capacity for up to 95 passengers onboard. But COMAC is also developing the longer -900 variant, which is expected to be capable of flying between 95 and 105 travelers in a two-class seating configuration. 

The manufacturer plans to expand the ARJ21 family with two additional ARJ21 variants: an ARJ21F freighter version and an ARJ21B business jet. The dedicated cargo plane will feature a maximum payload capacity of 10,150 kilograms, while the ARJ21B is expected to serve as a small executive jet for 20 passengers onboard.

According to COMAC, almost 100 ARJ21-700s have been delivered as of December 2022.

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