China’s COMAC added a trio of new airline operators for its ARJ21-700 aircraft over the weekend. China Eastern, China Southern, and Air China each took delivery of their first aircraft during a joint ceremony. And, still, COMAC’s grand ambitions to challenge Western manufacturers remains years away.
It is no secret that Norwegian wants access to fly across northern Russia. The trans-Siberian routes open up opportunities in North Asia, including Japan, China and Korea. And the Russians know this. The country is a notoriously tough negotiator when it comes to gaining access to those routes. Some might even claim extortionate. Oh, and the country has a maligned small airplane that it would like to see selling better, perhaps flying more outside of its home carriers. What are the odds??
First Bombardier sold off the CSeries (now A220) to Airbus. Then the Q400 turboprop business was sold to Viking Air. Today the company announced further restructuring, with plans to consolidate remaining operations in the Americas while divesting its composite aerostructures businesses in Belfast and Morocco.
A new, smaller SuperJet is in the works from Russian manufacturer Sukhoi. The move helps Russian airline S7 expand its fleet of home-grown aircraft but could also contribute to an interesting competitive framework to the Airbus/Boeing duopoly.
It is one of the most rare commercial aircraft types flying today, an the future looks shaky at best. Welcome on board the COMAC ARJ21-700, a marvel of engineering, though not necessarily for the right reasons.