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World

China completes maiden flight for passenger jet, challenging global aviation giants

  • Using the Chinese-made ARJ-21, the nation's main aircraft maker seeks to bolster the utilisation of domestically produced planes, in an effort to compete with international aviation behemoths such as Airbus and Boeing.
  • China seeks to leverage the nation's massive aviation network and growing domestic market to gain a larger chunk of the global aviation services industry.
Updated 31 Dec 2020

On Monday, OTT Airlines, a subsidiary of the China Eastern Airlines Corporation Ltd., completed its maiden passenger flight by utilising domestically built planes.

Using the Chinese-made ARJ-21, the nation's main aircraft maker seeks to bolster the utilisation of domestically produced planes, in an effort to compete with international aviation behemoths such as Airbus and Boeing.

This debut flight comes at an opportune moment, as China seeks to leverage the nation's massive aviation network and growing domestic market to gain a larger chunk of the global aviation services industry.

The industry is currently dominated by the likes of Boeing and Airbus, in addition to Canada's Bombardier and Brazil's Embraer, all of which are expected to compete with the ARJ-21.

OTT initially plans to purchase three ARJ-21-700 jets, an additional six in 2021, and eight in 2022; expanding it's fleet to 35 aircrafts by 2025, according to a statement from the company.

The ARJ-21 is a commercial jet, with a capacity of 90 seats, which is the first regional aircraft that has been completely assembled and manufactured in China.

Launched in February, OTT (also known as One Two Three) was formerly operating in medical transportation, corporate flights and pilot training programs; and only received the green light from the civil aviation authority to operate as a passenger airline in December.

China's aviation ambitions could be jeopardized by the Military End Users sanctions list released by the United States earlier this month, which restricts 58 Chinese companies (with alleged military ties) from buying a broad range of American goods and technology.