Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, China hasn’t stopped developing its aviation industry. A brand-new carrier, OTT Airlines, will be launched on Dec. 28. However, the airline hasn’t revealed any maiden flight details thus far. OTT will provide only regional services and will be based at Shanghai Hongqiao Airport.
OTT, a subsidiary of China Eastern Airlines, will be using MU as its IATA designator, which is the same as the parent company. According to Chinese media, OTT is going to own an entirely-Chinese-manufactured fleet. Three Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) ARJ21-700 aircraft have been delivered already and 32 more ARJ21 planes are expected to be delivered by 2024. ARJ21 planes have capacity for 78-90 passengers with a range of 2,225 to 3,700 km.
In the next five years, the airline is also planning to own 20 COMAC C919 aircraft, the narrow aircraft also designed by COMAC. Earlier, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) approved the C919 to enter the final testing phase in Nanchang. The aircraft can carry 158 to 168 passengers with a range of 4,075-5,555 km.
C919s are expected to begin mass production by 2021. According to local media, the C919 has more than 1,000 orders with buyers mostly coming from China.
As coronavirus cases have fallen significantly in China, the Chinese domestic market is seeing a speedy recovery after the pandemic. In October, the national holiday saw 91% of passenger counts compared to the same time last year with an average 79% load factor. In addition, CAAC has reviewed the total flight hour in the country was 89.7 thousand in November, a nearly-89% recovery compared to the same time last year. According to China Eastern Airlines, domestic capacity was down 14.5% in November compared to the same time last year.
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