HNA Group Co Ltd (HNA Group) and Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd (COMAC) signed a letter of intent (LOI) to purchase 20 ARJ 21 aircrafts at the 51st Farnborough International Airshow in London, the first tangible result between the two sides after signing a strategic cooperation framework agreement in early June of this year in Shanghai. After delivery, the 20 jets will be operated by Urumqi Air, an HNA Group subsidiary.
The ARJ 21 aircraft, China’s first turbofan regional jet developed in accordance with international airworthiness standards, excels in five major areas: product adaptability, passenger comfort and cost efficiencies, as well as universality of parts and materials not only across the model suite but also with other commonly built aircraft, all of which help the model meet the operational requirements of taking off and landing at the airports located across the western plateau of China, a region frequently beset by high temperatures, and surmounting obstacles on complex routes, making the aircraft an ideal choice for routes and airports in Western China.
Through innovation both in terms of corporate organization and aircraft design, HNA Group plans to deepen the cooperation with COMAC with an eye to introducing and operating China-made aircraft, setting up an end-to-end industry chain that encompasses production, materials supplying, sales and support for aircraft manufacturing in addition to improving the production chain and setting up a leasing services network for aircraft made in China, in a move to transition the country’s civil aviation sector into a leadership position on the global stage.
Hainan Airlines, Urumqi Air and Tianjin Airlines, as well as HNA Group’s other subsidiaries, will also benefit from the cooperation, speeding up business development and facilitating the group’s contribution to China’s the Belt and Road Initiative by building a more convenient regional airline network.