ARJ21 aircraft test proves high-plateau airport capability
Published: Jul 30, 2020 04:02 PM

Photo: The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China

An ARJ21 jet, China's first domestically made regional jetliner, completed an extended test flight at Daocheng Yading Airport in Southwest China's Sichuan Province, the world's highest civil airport at an altitude of 4,411 meters, and returned to Shanghai after completing a half-month flight test, the aircraft's manufacturer said Thursday. 

The developer, the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), said it shows the ARJ21 aircraft operating range can cover all high-plateau airports, and it will be the foundation for plateau air routes in the future. 

A plateau airport is an airport located at an altitude higher than 1,500 meters. Plateau airports are usually within the 1,500-2,438 meter range, and high-plateau airports are at 2,438 meters and above. High-altitude airports have thin air, complex terrain and changeable weather, meaning they require aircraft to have higher performance.

China has the most high-altitude airports of any country, with 19 high-altitude airports, mainly in western regions. 

Developed by COMAC, the ARJ21 is designed to hold 78-90 seats and has a flight range of 3,700 kilometers. When the ARJ21 was first designed, its plateau performance was a focus. 

In June 2013 and September 2017, the ARJ21 underwent altitude test flights at Golmud Airport (2,842 meters above sea level) and Huatugou Airport (2,905 meters above sea level), both located in Northwest China's Qinghai Province. 

The test flight at Daocheng Yading Airport demonstrated the ARJ21's maximum take-off and landing altitude capabilities and verified the aircraft's reliability and performance in plateau conditions, COMAC said. 

In June, three ARJ21 regional passenger planes were delivered to major domestic airlines in Shanghai, marking the homegrown jetliner's entrance into the domestic, mainstream civil aviation market.

To date, COMAC has delivered 33 ARJ21 to its customers, including the newly delivered aircraft to the three giants, Air China, China Eastern Airlines, and China Southern Airlines. The three giants will each receive a total of three ARJ21 planes this year.

Last week, the ARJ21 welcomed its millionth passenger on Chengdu Airlines flight.

The first ARJ21 airplane was delivered to Chengdu Airlines in 2015 and had its first commercial flight on June 28, 2016.