The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) earned regulatory approval from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) for its ARJ21-700CCF freighter conversion program Jan. 1, paving the way for a new regional freighter type to begin operations.
COMAC, which hosted a ceremony for the announcement Jan. 6, launched the project in May 2020 and completed all airworthiness checks at the end of 2022, according to a statement from the Shanghai-based manufacturer.
The prototype ARJ21 conversion (112, ex-Chengdu Airlines) began flight testing in October 2022 after conversion at the GAMECO facility in Guangzhou, China, (CAN) and will be redelivered to YTO Cargo Airlines, which previously told Cargo Facts that it expected to take redelivery of the aircraft and begin operations in December 2022.
GAMECO previously told Cargo Facts that it was also working on a second ARJ21-700CCF conversion. That aircraft (109, also ex-Chengdu Airlines) arrived at CAN in December 2021 and will be redelivered to China Central Longhao Airlines, the second customer of the program, according to COMAC’s statement.
In its new freighter configuration, the ARJ21 can carry approximately 10 tonnes of payload, according to COMAC.
The standard version of the passenger ARJ21-700 has a reported maximum takeoff weight of 89,288 pounds and a maximum range of 1,200 nautical miles at a cruising speed of Mach 0.78.
YTO Cargo Airlines took redelivery of its first two widebody aircraft with the addition of a pair of 2003-vintage 767-300BDSFs (33423 and 33424, both ex-Air Canada) with Pratt & Whitney PW4060 engines that entered service in 2022. YTO has also moved to expand its 757 fleet while holding off on 737-800BCF conversions, although the carrier appears to have already stopped 737-300F operations.
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