Chinese start-up Genghis Khan Airlines took delivery of its second Comac ARJ21-700 on Tuesday ahead of its planned launch date in early July. Based in Inner Mongolia, the newly established carrier becomes the second operator of the type, after Chengdu Airlines, and the first to commit to operating a fleet consisting solely of the Chinese-made regional jet.
On Tuesday evening, Genghis Khan commenced verification test flights with its first ARJ21, flying between its base at Hohhot Baita International Airport and Ulanhot Airport, located in Inner Mongolia’s far north. The carrier also carried out two emergency evacuation simulations earlier in the day including a lithium battery fire and an engine failure during takeoff. The carrier plans to complete a total of 25 verification test flights as part of its certification process over the next coming weeks.
Genghis Khan took delivery of its first ARJ21-700 on February 22. A rebrand from the formerly known Tianjiao Airlines, the Chinese carrier shelved initial plans to operate a fleet of Bombardier CRJ900s after inking an agreement covering 50 ARJ21s (25 firm orders and 25 options) in August 2018. Genghis Khan expects to take delivery of two more ARJ21s this year; plans call for a fleet of 25 jets, powered by General Electric CF34-10A engines, to operate to 40 destinations within five years.
Despite mounting political pressure to raise the country’s profile as a global aerospace contender, China’s first indigenous airliner has failed to gain traction in its home market. To date, launch customer Chengdu Airlines remains the sole operator of the Comac regional jet, operating a fleet of 11 ARJ21s to 20 Chinese cities. Chengdu Airlines and Genghis Khan plan to work together in developing their ARJ21 fleets under a cooperative framework agreement, which include operational support, information sharing, and business investments.
Meanwhile, Chinese low-cost carrier Urumqi Air plans to take delivery of its first ARJ21-700 sometime this year. In anticipation of receiving more aircraft orders, the Chinese manufacturer has begun training its first batch of new pilots for the type.