Beijing - Genghis Khan Airlines, a new company based in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, has set its sights on the Chinese COMAC ARJ21 instead of the initially intended Bombardier CRJ900.

Genghis Khan Airlines will receive 25 ARJ21 for the next five years, two of which will join the fleet before the end of this year. The agreement includes 25 options.

Its recruitment of personnel, including airline pilots, cabin crew, and maintenance technicians has been completed. The new airline of Mongolia plans to operate 60 aircraft within five years to 40 destinations in the region.

The ARJ21 program was launched 16 years ago. The inaugural flight of the Chinese regional jet was carried out in 2008, six years after the program launch.

The ARJ21-700 equipped with 78 to 90 seats and is able to fly up to 2000 nautical miles. It is designed to compete with Bombardier and Embraer but also Sukhoi and Mitsubishi on the regional jet market with less than 100 seats.

It has been commissioned by, among others, Xiamen Airlines, Joy Air, Shanghai Airlines, Lao Airlines, Myanma Airways, Merpati Nusantara Airlines and the leasing companies GECAS and ICBC Leasing.

Inspired by the McDonnell-Douglas MD80, it is equipped with General Electric GE CF34-10A engines and Rockwell avionics. The aircraft is currently certified only by the Chinese authorities. ARJ21-900, a larger version with 98 to 105 seats will be launched soon.