China’s first indigenous regional jet airliner entered revenue service last week and its manufacturer names Bombardier as one of its competitors.
However, it’s unlikely the somewhat updated version of a 1980s MD-80 will pose a serious challenge to the CSeries or any of the other modern platforms that will go into service in the next couple of years.
The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) delivered its first ARJ21 to Chengdu Airlines last week. It seats 90 passengers. It has not been certified by the FAA.
The plane was built using tooling left over from an aborted bid by McDonnell Douglas to build MD-80s in China in the 1990s. It uses GE engines and a Rockwell Collins panel.
Still China trumpets the aircraft as its own design. It has 243 orders, a small number for a new design.
Meanwhile, rumours continue to circulate about a major announcement by Bombardier concerning a CSeries order. United Airlines is reportedly close to a decision on whether to buy CSeries or next generation Embraer E195 jets.
The order would be for 30 aircraft with an option for 30 more.