Chen Jin (VP of AVIC Commercial Aircraft Company) takes the stand.
Chen’s here to talk about the ARJ21, China’s first indigenous airliner pitched at both domestic and international markets.
He starts. Before regional jet aircraft appeared on the market, the 50-100 seaters weren’t in demand in the region.
So what changed?
He talks about the liberalisation and hub airports and uses the USA as an example market.
However in China, Chen says, today there are less than 90 regional jets in use.
The majority of aircraft in use are 120 seaters or more which is leading to low cost effectiveness.
And whereas in the past other slower regional jets could discourage potential passengers with 4+hour flight times, the ARJ’s speed is comparable to the 737 so flight time becomes less of a negative factor.
In fact, declares Chen, the aircraft itself is changing the very nature of the market, helping to bolster developing regions and support emerging hub airports.
Chen gauges the size of the Chinese market. He says there are roughly 1.3 billion people in China served by only 90 regional aircraft.
In comparison the US and Europe together have a population of only 800 million but are served by 400 equivalent aircraft.
Thus he theorises there’s room in the regional market for an additional 500 regional jet aircraft.