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The Comac ARJ21, China's answer to Embraer's regional jets, was launched with great fanfare in 2016. However, if FlightRadar24 is to be believed, launch customer Chengdu Airlines does not appear to be flying any of its aircraft (click open AJ27, then check the aircraft).

Are any airlines actually flying the Comac ARJ21? If not, when and why did they stop?

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You are correct in that the FlightRadar24 site doesn't show any flights for the ARJ by aircraft. But going to the routes tab and searching through the routes there are ARJ assigned to some routes. So it appears that Chengdu Airlines is operating the aircraft at least on a limited basis.

I would also say that while FlightRadar24 data is generally very good, it isn't perfect. They do rely on data from external sources and considering the Chinese government's information and internet policies, it's entirely possible that the data availability is not the most reliable.

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  • $\begingroup$ FR24 shows lots of flights for other Chengdu Airlines aircraft though. Perhaps the routes are just based on where they used to fly the ARJ21? $\endgroup$ – jpatokal Mar 12 at 12:00
  • $\begingroup$ Don't know. There's not a lot of transparency when it comes to China. But one thing I can say without reservation; airlines don't like airplanes they own to sit on the ground. They're expensive assets and they need to fly to generate revenue. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Mar 12 at 18:17
  • $\begingroup$ That's why I posted this, because it looks like there's something badly wrong with the aircraft if nobody is flying it...! $\endgroup$ – jpatokal Mar 12 at 20:20
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    $\begingroup$ They may be flying. FlightRadar24 gets its data from ADS-B. China is only requiring airlines to be 50% equipped by 2020. Full equipage is not until 2025. It's possible the ARJs are not equipped and that's why they're not showing up on FlightRadar24. I read elsewhere COMAC is planning a major cockpit retrofit for the ARJ21. It may take that to get the full compliance for ADS-B. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Mar 12 at 21:21
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    $\begingroup$ Interesting! Poked around a bit more, and I found one apparently ARJ-operated flight last week, but that's based on the schedule and there's no ADS-B data: flightradar24.com/data/aircraft/b-3329 $\endgroup$ – jpatokal Mar 13 at 0:15
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Ghengis Kahn airlines is supposed to start flights with the ARJ21 this spring, and received their first ARJ21 airplane last month. But I'm not able to find any flights with the plane yet.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/pictures-first-arj21-delivered-to-genghis-khan-air-456044/

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