China is turning to barter deals and targeting resource-rich countries in an effort to sell the ARJ21 regional jet overseas.

The Comac ARJ21 has 122 firm orders, all from China except for two firm from Laos national carrier Lao Airlines.

But a memorandum of understanding signed in Indonesia in May signals that Indonesia could become the largest export market for the ARJ21. Privately owned Indonesian mining company Merkukh Enterprises signed the MoU with China's AVIC International and it covers the forthcoming purchase of nine ARJ21s, 24 Harbin Y-12IV turboprops and six Avicopter H425 helicopters.

The mining company will pay for the purchases by selling coal, nickel and copper to China over a 30-year period, he says.

The deal also involves Merkukh buying ships, property and mining trucks from China.

Merkukh Enterprises plans to place the aircraft at two Indonesian carriers it bought recently, Dirgantara Air Services and Sabang Merauke Air Charter.

Meanwhile, work continues on securing Chinese certification for the ARJ21. Comac is due to make first deliveries to launch operator Chengdu Airlines early in 2011.

Source: Flight International