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ARJ21 marks first year of commercial operations

The Comac ARJ21 regional jet has completed a year of commercial operations, however the manufacturer has still yet to receive a production certificate for the aircraft.

Launch customer Chengdu Airlines first deployed MSN 106 on the Chengdu-Shanghai route on 28 June 2016. The carrier now has two ARJ21s in service, operating 16 sectors weekly from Chengdu to Changsha and Shanghai.

The carrier says eight of its captains are now type rated on the ARJ21, and it is scheduled to take delivery of another five within the year. The remaining 23 aircraft on order will be delivered over the next five to six years.

It adds that as the type enters mature operations, the airline will increasingly deploy it on the regional, high altitude and leisure routes that the aircraft is designed to serve. As its fleet increases, it will also expand the type's operations to tier II and tier III cities.

"Today we have ushered in the first anniversary of the safe operations of the ARJ21, signifying that the aircraft has passed the initial market test, and demonstrated that its operations has achieved important results," says Comac president He Dongfeng.

He adds that the manufacturer will continue to provide 24/7 rapid response support to the airline, to ensure the ARJ21's reliable and safe operations.

Comac previously said it is working to gain a production certification for the type, enhance automation for the assembly of the aircraft and lay the foundation for it to enter mass production in 2017.

Comac also told FlightGlobal last year that it is on a mission to upgrade the ARJ21, following feedback from Chengdu Airlines. Items that needed addressing include reducing cabin nose, simplifying the aircraft's warning systems, installing an aircraft crew address and reporting system, resolving a door pressure issue, as well as to make the aircraft safe for operations even in heavy rain.

The aircraft also made new flight tests earlier this year following some design optimisations.

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