The OTT Airlines, a newly-founded subsidiary business run by China Eastern Airlines (CEA), finished its maiden flight from Shanghai to Beijing on Monday.
The flight was completed by an ARJ21, the first turbofan regional passenger jetliner produced by China, which is able to carry as many as 90 passengers.
The ARJ21 airliner features comfort of trunkliners. Compared with jets of similar type, the ARJ21 has a wider and higher cabin that comes with18 rows of ultrathin seats. The seat pitch, recline angle and width are comparable to those of the in-service narrow-body aircraft run by the CEA.
From the end of this year to March 2021, OTT Airlines will fly the routes from Shanghai to Beijing, Nanchang, East China’s Jiangxi Province, Hefei, East China’s Anhui Province and Wenzhou, East China’s Zhejiang Province.
The inaugural flight was piloted by Zhang Daqi, who has flown 6 types of aircraft with a safe flight time of over 18,300 hours. He flew a business jet to accompany the C919, China’s first homegrown big passenger jet that took off in May 2017.
The OTT Airlines currently has 3 ARJ21-700 jets, and is expected to receive another 6 the next year and 8 more in 2022. Its fleet will include 35 ARJ21 jets by 2025.
In addition, it also has an operation team consisting of 15 pilots, 28 flight attendants, 9 safety officers, 2 dispatchers and over 30 engineers.
The OTT Airlines was launched by the CEA in February this year, with an aim to fly homegrown passenger jets in China’s mainland market, so as to demonstrate their quality and advanced design, as well as bring superior flight experiences to the passengers.
ARJ21 and C919, both manufactured by the Commercial Aircraft Corp of China, will make up the majority of the new carrier’s fleet, said the Shanghai Shanghai-based company.