China’s Comac has landed a contract to supply ARJ21s to Inner Mongolia’s Genghis Khan Airlines that calls for delivery of the first of the regional jets by the end of the year. With the delivery, Ghengis Khan Airlines will become the second ARJ21 operator and the first to commit to operating a fleet consisting solely of the Chinese-made regional jets.
Inner Mongolia Communications Investment Group invested in this start-up airline with support from the government of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China. The Civil Aviation Administration of China provided preliminary approval to the new carrier in March. The airline bases its operations at the Hohhot Baita International Airport and plans to start flying the first of a projected fleet of 25 ARJ21s in early 2019. Chengdu Airlines remains the only other ARJ21 operator, and now flies eight.
Comac plans to deliver the first two airplanes in December 2018 and deliver the remainder over the next five years. It intends to take advantage of its relatively close proximity to its new customer and establish an around-the-clock rapid response mechanism for the ARJ21 in the region. Meanwhile, Genghis Khan Airlines has agreed with Comac to establish a flight school, an MRO center, and a training center in Inner Mongolia.
The airline sees broad market prospects in Inner Mongolia, whose long, narrow geography extends 2,400 kilometers from its northeast to southwest. Due to the scattered and far-reaching towns in the area, several small and medium-sized local airports dot the landscape, making the region ripe for regional airline development.