DALLAS – The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac) has announced that it has completed the design work to convert its ARJ21 passenger airliner into a freight aircraft. The program was launched at a special ceremony held at the company’s Shanghai research & development centre.
Dubbed the ARJ21-700F, Comac has been working on the program since May 2020. For several years, the manufacturer has envisaged a freight variant of its twin-engined, single-aisle airliner, with models of the underdevelopment airframe appearing at various air shows.
One airframe, originally delivered to Chengdu Airlines (EU) in 2018, has been undergoing the conversion process and is expected to be delivered to China-based YTO Cargo Airlines (YG). Comac also has Zhongyuan Airlines (Z2) as another customer for the -700F.
The aircraft will have a commercial cargo capacity capable of carrying various unit load devices, including LD7, PMC, PAG, and AKE containers, with a maximum payload of 10,150 kg.
It will be fitted with a large, fully-electric cargo door and feature an air conditioning and fire suppression system.
The ARJ21 entered service with EU in June 2016 after being under development since March 2002. According to Cirium fleet data, there are currently 88 of the type in service.
Comac is also developing a business version of the jet, the CBJ. The type was unveiled in September 2021 at Airshow China in Zhuhai.
Featured Image: Chengdu Airlines (EU) was the launch customer of the ARJ21. Photo: Honeywell Aerospace.