COMAC ARJ21 Operators and Routes in 2024: All You Need to Know

COMAC ARJ21 is a Chinese twin jet aircraft with rear fuselage-mounted engines that resembles the McDonnell Douglas MD-80. While not as much as its larger C919 counterpart which is currently only operated by China Eastern Airlines, the ARJ21 is still a relatively rare aircraft.

Continue reading to learn about which airlines currently operate the type and which routes it can be flown on.

The COMAC ARJ21 resembles the McDonnell Douglas MD-80. (Credit: COMAC)

COMAC ARJ21 Operators in 2024

COMAC ARJ21 first flew on November 28, 2008, on a test flight from Shanghai Dachang Airport. Nearly eight years later, on June 28, 2016, it entered into service with Chengdu Airlines on a flight from Chengdu to Shanghai. To date, over 100 ARJ21s have been delivered to nine airlines.

All but one of the current ARJ21 operators are airlines from mainland China:

  • Air China
  • Chengdu Airlines
  • China Express Airlines
  • China Flight General Aviation Company (CFGAC)
  • China Southern Airlines
  • Genghis Khan Airlines
  • Jiangxi Air
  • OTT Airlines
  • TransNusa (sole operator outside of China)

Other Chinese airlines reported to have ordered the ARJ21 include Shangdong Airlines, Joy Air, Xiamen Airlines, and Longhao Airlines (freighter). Outside China, Laos’s 9nes, GECAS, Indonesia’s Merukh Enterprises, and the Republic of Congo are reported to have placed orders for the aircraft.

COMAC ARJ21 Routes in 2024

Currently, domestic flights within China make up the vast majority of COMAC ARJ21 routes. Given the type’s order book, chances are it will remain that way for as long as the type is in service.

That said, there are a couple of international ARJ21 routes including Chengdu Airlines’ Harbin – Vladivostok and TransNusa’s Jakarta – Johor Baru.

Air China

Star Alliance member Air China took delivery of its first ARJ21 in June 2020. Since then it received a total of around 20 airframes or just under two-thirds of the 35 ARJ21s it ordered.

Like with most of the remaining operators, the airline uses the ARJ21s solely on domestic flights in China at this point. More specifically, they primarily operate routes out of Beijing and Inner Mongolia’s capital Hohhot including:

  • Beijing Capital Baotou, Daqing, Hefei, Hohhot, Xilinhot, and Yinchuan
  • Hohhot – Bayannur, Manzhouli, Nanchang, Tongliao, Ulanhot, Wuhan, Xi’an, and Xilinhot

Chengdu Airlines

As mentioned earlier, Chengdu Airlines was the first airline to put the ARJ21 into service. Since October 2017 when it received the first airframe of the type, COMAC delivered the majority of the 30 ARJ21s it has on order.

Currently, Chengdu Airlines can be seen on many domestic flights around China. While a good portion of them are out of Chengdu, there are also plenty of routes from other airports. Among others, domestic ARJ21-operated Chengdu Airlines routes include:

  • Chengdu – Anqing, Bayannur, Dazhou, Luoyang, Taiyuan, Ulanhot, Yueyang, and Zunyi
  • Hailar – Jiagedaqi and Ulanhot
  • Harbin – Fuyuan, Heihe, Mohe, and Weihai
  • Luzhou – Hefei
  • Xichang – Dazhou and Luzhou
  • Xilinhot – Ulanhot, Wuhai, and Zhengzhou

In addition to domestic flights, Chengdu Airlines also uses the ARJ21 on flights between the capital of China’s Heilongjiang Province, Harbin, and Vladivostok in Russia.

China Express Airlines

China Express Airlines, a regional airline with hubs at Chongqing, Guiyang, and Weifang Airports, received the first of its 50 ordered ARJ21s in November 2020. Since then, it received around half a dozen more airframes.

Primarily, the China Express Airlines ARJ21s can be seen on routes from Chongqing to destinations like Changde, Chenzhou, Dongying, Ezhou, Hengyang, Ordos, Wuzhou, Yan’an, and Zunyi.

That said, they also operate some routes out of other airports including Changde to Nanjing and Shanghai, Ezhou to Qingdao and Wezhou, Fuzhou to Chenzhou and Hengyang, and Xilinhot to Ordos.

China Flight General Aviation Company

Both ARJ21s that China Flight General Aviation Company (CFGAC) had on order were delivered between 2019 and 2020. The two airframes comprise the entire fleet of this mysterious operator.

While one of the ARJ21s appears to fly regularly, it seems to do so on some sort of test flights rather than on scheduled routes.

China Southern Airlines

Over 20 of the 35 ARJ21s that another one of China’s major airlines – China Southern Airlines – placed on order in 2019, have been delivered so far. The first of those joined the airline’s fleet in June 2020. China Southern Airlines is another airline that uses the type solely on domestic flights.

Its ARJ21s can be seen on over a dozen routes from Guangzhou, including destinations such as Changde, Ganzhou, Huai’an, Jieyang, Linfen, Luzhou, Meixian, Nanchang, Shanghrao, Quanzhou, Xuzhou, Yancheng, Yibin, and Yiwu.

China Southern’s ARJ21s can also be seen on over a dozen routes out of Jieyang. These include flights to Chizhou, Chongqing, Guilin, Guiyang, Ji’an, Linyi, Luzhou, Nantong, Nanyang, Ningbo, Wuhan, Xuzhou, Yiwu, and Zhengzhou.

Other China Southern Airlines ARJ21 routes include Taiyuan – Yiwu and Ji’an – Zhengzhou.

Genghis Khan Airlines

Genghis Khan Airlines is a relatively young airline based at Hohhot Airport in Inner Mongolia, China. It ordered 25 ARJ21s (with options for a further 25) in August 2018 and received the first of those in February 2019.

The airline launched operations in July 2019 with flights between Hohhot and Ulanhot. Since then, the all-ARJ21 operator received additional aircraft and grew its network considerably, primarily with other routes around Inner Mongolia.

Among others, Genghis Khan Airlines’ network now includes the following routes:

  • Chifeng – Manzhouli and Zhalantun
  • Hailar – Tongliao and Xilinhot
  • Hohhot – Ulanhot, Yulin, and Xilinhot
  • Ulanhot – Changchun and Ordos

Jiangxi Air

Jiangxi Air is a Chinese low-cost airline that commenced operations in January 2016. The airline is majority-owned by SkyTeam member XiamenAir.

While originally it operated an all-Boeing 737-800 fleet, in 2020, it also started taking delivery of some ARJ21s.

The ARJ21s operated by Jiangxi Air are primarily used on routes between its Nanchang Airport hub and Guiyang, Huai’an, Linfen, Luzhou, Quingdao, Tianjin, Xiamen, and Xuzhou. They also operate on the Nanjing – Nanyang and Linfen – Hohhot routes.

OTT Airlines

Standing for “One Two Three,” OTT Airlines is one of the newest Chinese airlines. It is a subsidiary of SkyTeam’s China Eastern Airlines and launched operations out of its Shanghai Hongqiao Airport hub in December 2020.

On its scheduled flights, OTT Airlines uses an all-ARJ21 fleet. In addition to the Chinese-produced airliners, it also operates a couple of business jets.

OTT Airlines’ nearly 20 ARJ21s can be seen on, a wide variety of domestic routes operated under China Eastern’s MU flight numbers.

Some of these routes include Shanghai Pudong – Jieyang and Shijiazhuang; Jieyang – Guilin, Hefei, Nanchang, and Wenzhou; Ordos – Shijiazhuang; and Beihai – Guilin.


Last but not least is Indonesia’s TransNusa – ARJ21’s sole non-Chinese operator.

This low-cost carrier operates a fleet of five aircraft including three A320s and two ARJ21s on domestic routes in Indonesia, as well as flights between Indonesia and China, Malaysia, and Singapore.

TransNusa’s ARJ21s operate flights from Jakarta, Indonesia, to Johor Bahru, Malaysia. They also regularly appear on flights between the Indonesian capital and its Malaysian counterpart Kuala Lumpur and on domestic flights between Jakarta and Denpasar.

TransNusa ARJ21
The Indonesian low-cost carrier TransNusa is currently the only ARJ21 operator outside of China. (Credit: China Aircraft Leasing Group)


Over 100 COMAC ARJ21 aircraft have been delivered so far. All but two of those were delivered to Chinese airlines including the type’s launch customer Chengdu Airlines and other operators large and small. Because of this, the ARJ21 can be seen on dozens and dozens of domestic routes within China.

On the other hand, on international flights, the ARJ21 is still – and will likely remain for a long time – very rare. The only two airlines to fly the type outside China are Indonesia’s TransNusa and China’s Chengdu Airlines which uses it on its Harbin – Vladivostok route.

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