A new regional carrier in China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region, Genghis Khan Airlines will commence commercial operations early next year with a fleet of locally-made 90-seater ARJ21 regional passenger jetliners.
Genghis Khan Airlines plans to establish a fleet of 25 ARJ21 aircraft within the next five years. Commercial Aircraft Corp of China Ltd (COMAC), the developer of the ARJ21, said this latest development shows that commercial use of the aircraft is being stepped up, China Daily reported.
Genghis Khan Airlines signed an aircraft purchase agreement for ARJ21-700 aircraft with COMAC on Monday in Beijing. The two sides will also cooperate on airplane operations, skills development, services and maintenance, to meet the growing demand for air transportation in Inner Mongolia.
The establishment of Genghis Khan Airlines, which operates mainly from Hohhot Baita International Airport and is financed by Inner Mongolia Communications Investment (Group) Co Ltd, was approved by the Civil Aviation Administration of China in March.
The twin-engine ARJ21 has been in commercial use for more than two years and has transported over 160,000 people. With 78 to 90 seats, the aircraft has a flight range of 2,225 to 3,700 kilometers.
"The ARJ21 aircraft has great performance under ultra-low temperatures and it is suitable for takeoff and landing at plateau airports in western China, which is in line with the requirements of the aviation market in Inner Mongolia," said Hao Yutao, chairman of Genghis Khan Airlines.
The ARJ21-700 is the first China-made jetliner designed for flying in western China. Inner Mongolia had been a major base for test flights of the aircraft. With its vast territory, cities and towns in Inner Mongolia are far apart from each other. The region has so far established 28 civil airports, including 20 transportation airports, the highest number in China.
Besides, COMAC said it would establish an aircraft maintenance center in Inner Mongolia. The center will initially provide maintenance services for the ARJ21. It will later provide services for the C919, China's first domestically manufactured single-aisle aircraft, which is expected to be put into use in 2021, and the widebody CR929, which is being jointly developed by China and Russia.