If the entry into service of the commercial jet C919 days ago meant the end of the duopoly between Boeing and Airbus in the 170-seat segment, this Sunday another symbolic event involved COMAC, a Chinese state-owned manufacturer, the delivery of the first ARJ21-700 regional jet to a foreign client, TransNusa, from Indonesia.
The ARJ21 is the first airliner developed in China, although it was based on Boeing’s older MD-90s. The model can carry about 100 passengers, but in the configuration adopted by Transnusa it was equipped with 95 seats.
The Indonesian carrier currently has only three Airbus A320s, two of which are the Neo version, and should receive 30 ARJ21s by 2026. The choice of the COMAC plane, however, indirectly involves Chinese interest.
TransNusa is 49% owned by Naga Pacific Holdings, which is partly owned by CALC, the lessor that acquired the ARJ21-700s.
Despite this, it is a symbolic delivery since, so far, Chinese commercial aircraft have been maintained with sales mostly to customers in the country.
According to COMAC, “nearly 100 aircraft were delivered and operated on more than 300 routes in 100 cities, with around 5.6 million passengers safely transported”.
In this quarter alone, COMAC has already delivered 12 ARJ21s, not counting the TransNusa aircraft.