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Industry China Express Airlines signs strategic partnership with COMAC

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China Express Airlines has signed a strategic partnership with Chinese aircraft manufacturer COMAC.

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According to media sources, China Express Airlines has put pen to paper with COMAC over a strategic partnership. The partnership includes a 100 aircraft strong order consisting of COMAC C919 and ARJ21-700 aircraft. The exact quantities of the types are currently unknown.

This order is the largest one made during the pandemic and a little setback for large manufacturers like Boeing or Airbus, who both have experienced many order cancellations or deferrals. The deal is still subject to shareholder approval.

Deliveries for the first aircraft are planned for this year. It is likely, that the 100 aircraft will then be delivered over a period of several years.

The strategic partnership will also see COMAC and China Express Airlines work together on other areas in the industry such as maintenance, aircraft development, aircraft design and personnel training.

COMAC´s C919 is an aircraft that is currently being developed for short- to middle-haul flights. The aircraft is China´s answer to Boeing´s 737 MAX and Airbus´ A320NEO Family. COMAC is still working on gaining the type certificate for the C919. Today, the C919 has received 305 firm orders, mainly from Chinese airlines or leasing companies. 703 purchase options could be exercised.

The ARJ21 meanwhile, has entered into service back in 2016 with Chengdu Airlines. The aircraft was developed mainly for regional or short-haul flights. The ARJ21-700 has 378 reported orders with 20 purchase options.

Recently, COMAC announced the delivery of the 24th ARJ21 aircraft to launch customer Chengdu Airlines. The manufacturer stated, that the ARJ21 aircraft fleet has carried more than 810,000 passengers since entering into service.

China Express Airlines is expected to use the C919 and ARJ21 aircraft on routes within China. Currently, the fleet consists of 11 Airbus A320CEOs and 37 Bombardier CRJ-900 regional jets. The carrier was founded back in May 2006 and is expected to take delivery of its first Airbus A320neo in the coming months. China Express Airlines has its main operational hub at Guiyang Longdongbao Airport.

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