Chinese carrier to buy 100 homegrown aircraft

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/10 23:58:21

Technicians work on the manufacturing line of China's ARJ21 aircraft at a factory in Shanghai, east China, March 6, 2020. The factory of Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd. in Shanghai has resumed production amid epidemic prevention and control efforts. Photo:Xinhua

Chinese carrier China Express announced on Wednesday that it has signed a framework agreement with Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) to buy and operate a total of 100 planes - including ARJ21-700 planes, China's first domestically made regional jetliner, and C919 commercial airliner planes - starting from 2020.

In addition, the two companies will cooperate in exploring overseas markets, in particular in markets along the route of the Belt and Road Initiative and in Africa. They will also integrate resources to build an industrial ecosystem for China's homegrown civil airplanes, according to a filing China Express sent to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. 

Other areas of cooperation include jointly promoting the design and optimization of aircraft, and exploring new services and maintenance models, the filing noted. China Express said that the purchase will help the carrier to steadily expand capacity and market size. 

Lin Zhijie, a veteran market watcher, told the Global Times that the agreement shows that China's self-made airplanes have started market-oriented development and operation. "It has some special significance as China Express is a privately owned airline," Lin noted. 

An employee of China Express said that Chinese carriers should take the responsibility to support the development of homegrown aircraft, industry news website reported. "For an airplane's market development, building and being used is equally important."

On Wednesday, COMAC also delivered three ARJ21 airplanes to Chengdu Airlines, Jiangxi Air and Genghis Khan Airlines, respectively, news website reported. 

As of the end of April, COMAC has delivered 25 ARJ21 aircraft to the three aforementioned carriers. It is also expected to deliver to China's three major carriers - Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines - their first ARJ21 airplanes by the end of June, according to media reports. 

So far, ARJ21 planes have flown on 50 routes, safely transporting more than 820,000 passengers. 


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