China Express Airlines confirmed its intentions to expand its fleet by 100 brand-new aircraft. The airline plans to acquire 100 aircraft from China Commercial Aircraft Company (COMAC), a Chinese state-owned aerospace manufacturer.
On October 20, 2020, China Express Airlines reportedly announced that the airline intends to obtain a total of 100 COMAC aircraft, of which 50 would be ARJ21-700ERs. However, the purchase is still subject to the air carrier shareholder’s approval. If the deal would be approved, the airline expected to receive 50 brand-new aircraft with the scheduled delivery of two jets in 2020, six in 2021, eight in 2022, nine in 2023, 10 in 2024, and the rest 15 in 2025.
While the first half of the order was set to consist of the ARJ21s, China Express Airlines has not specified yet how the other half of the order would be composed. The other half of the 100 jets order might be homogeneously formed of C919s or it could be mixed and combined of C919s and AJR21s simultaneously. However, the Comac C919, as an alternative option to Airbus A320 or Boeing 737, has not received its certification yet.
The airline has been targeting to supplement the fleet with 100 jets since June 2020, when it initially announced the intention in a corporate filing to the Shenzhen stock exchange. At the time, China Express Airlines signed a strategic partnership agreement with COMAC under which the airline would purchase a total of 100 ARJ21 and C919 planes, deliveries of which would start from 2020.
While other aircraft manufacturing giants such as Airbus or Boeing suffer a decline in the demand for their production, the order for the domestically-developed jets could significantly boost the production of a China state-owned manufacturer COMAC.