The first customer of COMAC’s ARJ21-700 regional jet outside China, Indonesian airline TransNusa Aviation, recently began a 100-hour flight training campaign with the aircraft.
The tests precede the effective entry of the aircraft into service, which still does not have a schedule released by the airline.
Jakarta-based low-cost airline TransNusa took delivery of its Chinese aircraft in December last year, becoming COMAC’s first overseas customer. The Indonesian company’s ARJ21 is configured with 95 seats in a single class.
The carrier will receive 30 aircraft of the type, which will be gradually delivered by the Chinese manufacturer until 2026. The aircraft ordered by TransNusa are leased by China Aircraft Leasing Group (CALC), one of the largest commercial aircraft lessors in Asia.
The acquisition of the ARJ21s will reinforce TransNusa’s network, which currently operates with just two Airbus A320 jets and one A320neo.
Next month, the company founded in 2005 will start its first international route, connecting Jakarta to Kuala Lumpur, in Malaysia.
Introduced to the Chinese market in 2016, the ARJ21-700 is the first passenger jet built in China, although it is largely based on the McDonnell Douglas DC-9.
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By the end of 2022, COMAC claimed to have 690 orders for the aircraft from 25 customers, of which more than 100 were delivered to nine Chinese companies and to TransNusa. According to the manufacturer, these planes currently operate on 316 routes and 118 destinations.
COMAC’s second commercial aircraft, which competes with the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737, the C919 jetliner is expected to debut in commercial service in April with China Eastern Airlines, which received the first aircraft at the end of 2022.
Like TransNusa, the Chinese carrier is currently carrying out the 100-hour in-flight training campaign.