The first exported Chinese passenger plane completed its debut commercial flight on Tuesday, April 18, in Indonesia. The ARJ21-700 aircraft of the airline TransNusa, registration PK-TJA, departed from Denpasar International Airport, in the province of Bali, to Jakarta.
Flight 8B5111 took off at 6:51 pm (local time) and landed 1:30 pm later in the Indonesian capital.
Chinese media highlighted the achievement, with images showing airline crews and other employees with a banner reading “ARJ21-700 Commercial Flight Launching”.
The first export ARJ21 was delivered on December 18th by COMAC, its manufacturer, and began carrying out training flights in March with the goal of reaching 100 hours in the air.
The ARJ21 was developed in China, however, it is based on the old MD-90, from McDonnell Douglas (today part of Boeing). It is equipped with GE CF34 turbofans, the same as the first generation E-Jets, and can carry up to 95 passengers.
The ARJ21-700 delivered to TransNusa is, for the time being, the only Chinese commercial aircraft to fly in another country. The carrier should receive more units in the coming months through a lease with the Chinese CALC.
Despite the symbolism, it is important to note that TransNusa is practically Chinese as 49% of its capital is in the hands of Naga Pacific Holdings, which belongs to CALC (China Aircraft Leasing Corporation).