COMAC announced this week that it had completed the delivery of 24 units of the ARJ21-700 airliner in 2020. All aircraft were received by Chinese airlines, such as Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines.
Since 2016, the Chinese state planemaker has delivered 46 ARJ21, the first passenger aircraft developed in the country. The model has a capacity between 78 and 90 seats and a range of 3,700 km and was based on the design of the MD-80 (formerly McDonnell Douglas, now Boeing).
According to COMAC, at the end of 2020, the ARJ-21 fleet had carried around 1.6 million passengers. The first aircraft was delivered to Chengdu Airlines in June 2016, its largest customer, with 23 units.
In 2017, two more ARJ21 were delivered, six in 2018 and 12 in 2019, which shows how the aircraft’s production evolved during that period. The performance also reflects the Beijing government’s effort to pave the Chinese commercial aircraft program, which conditions airlines in the country to use COMAC models.
In a statement released in China, COMAC highlighted the progress of the ARJ21, with eight customers so far, but also the progress in the certification work of the C919, the most advanced single aisle jet ever developed in the country.
According to the manufacturer, the C919 “completed important special flight tests, such as calibration of air speed, stall, flight at high temperatures and humidity, among others. The electrical control systems, landing gear, avionics were verified and all static tests have been completed”.
COMAC also noted that the CR929 Sino-Russian program has evolved thanks to the development of the project in simulators, airframe manufacture tests and selection of suppliers for aircraft structures.
The company did not disclose targets for 2021, but made it clear that the pace of production should continue to grow in the coming months. If the Chinese certification of the C919 occurs by the end of this year, in 2022, COMAC should start to produce annually a volume of aircraft close to Embraer, currently the world’s third largest commercial aircraft manufacturer.