SHANGHAI, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- China's independently developed ARJ21 regional aircraft has been plying on a new domestic route operated by China Southern Airlines, according to its developer Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC).
The route connects Shanghai and Jieyang, south China's Guangdong Province, and it is the airline's third route in which ARJ21 is operating, said COMAC.
China Southern received its first ARJ21 aircraft on June 28, began using the aircraft on commercial flights from July 15, and gradually put it into service on Guangzhou-Jieyang and Guangzhou-Zhanjiang routes, linking three cities in Guangdong.
To date, the airline has used the aircraft to carry more than 10,000 passengers.
According to the airline's fleet development plan, it will receive two more ARJ21 airplanes in 2020 and is expected to have 35 ARJ21 airplanes by 2024.
Guangzhou-headquartered China Southern is the largest airline in Asia, with a fleet of more than 860 airplanes by the end of 2019.
The carrier is now using the ARJ21 to facilitate air travel in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Yangtze River Delta.
Generating more experiences from commercial operations of ARJ21, China Southern is expected to develop more air routes for the aircraft based on its range, economic efficiency and other major performance parameters.
The ARJ21 is China's first turbofan regional passenger jetliner. Designed with a capacity of 78-90 seats and a range of 3,700 km, it can fly in alpine and plateau regions and adapt to varying airport conditions.
A pioneer of Chinese commercial airplanes, the ARJ21 was put into commercial service in June 2016 by Chengdu Airlines.
On June 28, the COMAC delivered one ARJ21 each for the country's three major carriers: Air China, China Eastern Airlines, and China Southern. These deliveries mark the arrival of the homegrown jetliner in the domestic mainstream civil aviation market.
As of the end of August, COMAC has delivered a total of 33 ARJ21 planes. Airlines are flying them on 73 routes, connecting 62 cities, according to the COMAC. Enditem