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ARJ21 delivers first report on operation in northeast China

Accumulating 646 flight hours and carrying 34,000 passengers in northeast China in winter and spring seasons

Last Updated (Beijing Time):2019-04-12   Source:News Center of COMAC
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A photo of ARJ21 in Harbin.


2019 summer and autumn seasons of China civil aviation industry started on March 31st. During the previous 154 days of winter and spring seasons, the China-made ARJ21 aircraft had, for the first time, withstood the test of coldness at minus dozens of degrees Celsius in northeast China under commercial operation mode.

In the new seasons, four new routes will be increased for ARJ21, three of which involve flight in northeast China, including: Changsha-Jinan-Manzhouli, Changsha-Weihai-Manzhouli, and Manzhouli-Wudalianchi-Harbin.

Being accepted by customers, CAAC and airports

ARJ21 aircraft had an indissoluble bond with the black land of northeast China. Since 2012, ARJ21 aircraft has conducted many tests and adaptability flights in northeast China to verify various performances of the aircraft in the weather conditions in northeast China.

In February 2012, ARJ21 aircraft flew to Harbin for a series of ground tests related to anti-icing system to verify the performance of the aircraft at low temperatures.

In December 2017, ARJ21 aircraft conducted route adaptability flights among seven airports in Harbin, Heihe, Fuyuan, Jiamusi, Mohe, Wudalianchi and Changbai Mountains in 19 flight days and more than 60 flights, and conducted simulation verification on the serviceability and the operation supporting capability.

In May 2018, Chengdu Airlines opened five brand new routes centering on Harbin, and officially launched the commercial operation of ARJ21 aircraft in the northernmost region of China.

In order to ensure the safety of ARJ21 aircraft in cold environment, COMAC had made various preparations for the route operation in northeast China, and sent a special support team to Harbin to provide support.

The aircraft operation in cold regions has some special requirements for the engine, electrical power, environmental control system, hydraulic system, etc. ARJ21 aircraft has been demonstrated to have adaptability in extreme cold conditions, and have a good operating condition in cold weather conditions through a series of adaptability demonstration flights. "However, commercial operation is different from adaptability flights. Only when it can withstand the test of commercial operation can it truly adapt to the extreme cold operation." said Mr. Zhou Huangxing from the Operation Support Department of Shanghai Aircraft Customer Service Co., Ltd. of COMAC, who had participated in the support for adaptability flights of ARJ21 aircraft in northeast China previously and participated in the whole process of ARJ21 aircraft winter operation in northeast China as a field representative of COMAC in Harbin.

ARJ21 has completed a series of modifications and optimizations based on the previous adaptability flights, and these modifications and optimizations have actually played a role in the route operation of the winter and spring seasons. "ARJ21 has operated smoothly in winter in northeast China, with a daily utilization rate per aircraft of 6.3 hours. The delay/cancellation rate per thousand flights due to mechanical reasons is not greater than that of a mature aircraft type in the same period." said Mr. Zhou Huangxing, "ARJ21 is getting better and better, and has been accepted by Chengdu Airlines, Heilongjiang Safety Supervisory Bureau of CAAC Administrative Division, and various airports in Heilongjiang Province."

Accumulating valuable experience of operation in extreme cold region

The operation of the aircraft in winter and spring seasons is mainly faced with the test of snow, ice, fog, winds and other complex weather conditions. In fact, before obtaining the airworthiness certificate, ARJ21 aircraft has completed the flight test under a variety of extreme weather conditions such as high temperature, extreme cold, high humidity and crosswind, which proves the reliability and safety of the aircraft. The commercial route operation shows the operating condition of ARJ21 aircraft in an extreme cold region more fully, which is the value of this winter operation.

The operation in an extreme cold region is different from that in southwest China, as the weather factors such as coldness, low humidity, rain, snow and fog will bring a severe test to the water system and bleed air system of the aircraft, and may even cause fluid leakage and engine failure. "The operation during the whole winter and spring seasons proves that ARJ21 aircraft is easy to maintain and easy to operate not only in normal weather conditions, but also in extreme weather conditions." said Mr. Liu Wei, the main person in charge of the support team.

There are three special members at the operation site, who are the mechanics from Genghis Khan Airlines and sent to Harbin operation frontline of Chengdu Airlines to accept training. They work together with the maintenance team for extreme cold operation of Chengdu Airlines and the operation support team of COMAC to carry out joint operations before and after flight according to the work-rest schedule of the maintenance personnel and experience the duties and troubleshooting work in extreme cold environment.

Hohhot and Harbin are both in extreme cold regions, and the climates in the two places are very similar. Therefore, ARJ21 aircraft will also be faced with the test of cold weather in Inner Mongolia in the future. According to Mr. Yao Yonghui from the Maintenance and Engineering Department of Genghis Khan Airlines, "after taking a few flights in the routes, we find that Chengdu Airlines runs smoothly, and the maintainability of ARJ21 is much better than we have expected. We have also learned a lot."

Through this winter operation, the availability of ARJ21 aircraft maintenance and flight manuals has been fully verified, and valuable experience has been accumulated for the subsequent commercial operation of ARJ21 aircraft in other extreme cold regions.

Promoting development of northeast China revitalization strategy

According to data provided by Chengdu Airlines, ARJ21 aircraft has accumulated 646 flight hours and carried 34,000 passengers in northeast China during the whole winter and spring seasons.

ARJ21 aircraft is the first regional jet independently developed by China, which owns independent intellectual property right. Using China-made passenger aircraft to open the round-trip routes between Chengdu and Harbin and the multiple feeder lines in Heilongjiang is an effective integration of the national civil aviation service with the comprehensive revitalization of northeast China.

Heihe Port in Heihe, a border city of northeast Heilongjiang Province, is suited opposite to Blagoveshchensk, the capital of Amur State of Russia, across Heilongjiang River. On both sides of the border line in Heihe, the engineering teams of China and Russia are constructing a Heilongjiang bridge across the border between China and Russia to realize the intercommunication and interconnection between the two cities and help Heilongjiang Province move towards the leading position of development with Russia. According to a lot of studies by China and Russia and multiple discussions by experts, after the completion of the bridge, the passenger traffic will reach 1.4 million person-times by 2020, and the freight volume will reach 3 million tons, which are 2 times and 10 times higher than the current level respectively.

With Harbin as the central hub, ARJ21 aircraft flies the round trips between Harbin and Heihe every day, which builds a bridge and bond between Harbin and Heihe, opens another air corridor from Heihe to the outside world, and makes the connection between the two places stronger, the personnel flow more convenient and the channel smoother. It plays a positive promoting function for further improving the transportation infrastructure network of Heihe, improving the level of interconnection and intercommunication, and continuously enhancing the channel and platform functions of Heihe in provincial and even national cooperation with Russia, and injects civil aviation power into the development of northeast China revitalization strategy.

ARJ21 are waiting to take off and transport passengers safely from Hohhot Baita International Airport, Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport, Harbin Taiping International Airport, etc. to the distant destinations. It has long been the norm that seven ARJ21 are assembled at the same time at Shanghai Dachang Assembly Base, and more and more ARJ21 aircraft will be launched from here and fly to all parts of the country in the future.

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