China’s first homebuilt passenger jet makes debut international flight

By ZHU WENQIAN | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-10-26 19:32
An ARJ21 aircraft operated by Chengdu Airlines takes off from Harbin, Heilong province, to Vladivostok of Russia on Oct 26, 2019. This is the first international flight of the homebuilt regional passenger aircraft ARJ21. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The ARJ21, China's first homebuilt regional passenger jetliner, successfully completed its first international flight from Harbin, Heilongjiang province in Northeastern China to Vladivostok of Russia on Saturday afternoon in one hour and three minutes.

Operated by Chengdu Airlines, the direct flight that connects the two cities will fly Mondays and Fridays from next week. In the past most flights from Harbin to Vladivostok needed to transfer in Beijing, Shanghai or Seoul.

Chengdu Airlines, the first customer of the ARJ21, now owns 15 of the aircraft. It has launched flights to 28 cities and transferred more than 540,000 passengers with the ARJ21 in more than three years of commercial operations.

“The ARJ21 aircraft is particularly suitable for the takeoff and landing conditions in Western and Northern China. The launch of the new international flight will showcase the operation capability of the aircraft on international flights,” said Tang Jin, president of Chengdu Airlines.

“Harbin has been a tourism city that is renowned for its ice and snow culture. The launch of the new flight will help to reenergize the Northeastern China region, shorten the flying time that connects China and Russia, and offer a more convenient way for trade and passenger transport between the two countries,” Tang said.

Chengdu Airlines said the launch of new international flight with the ARJ21 jet is a breakthrough for the carrier in exploring new business operation models and that it aims to further tap market growth opportunities in Northeastern China.

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