The new regional airline Joy Air has completed its maiden voyage with a short flight between Xi’an and Yan’an, both cities in Shaanxi Province.
The small airline, a joint venture between the State-owned China Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC) and China Eastern Airlines, will target the short feeder routes, especially ones in second and third-tier cities in central and western China.
The MA60 plane, Joy Air flight number B-3453, took off from Xi’an with 33 passengers at 11:06 am Saturday, each paying RMB100 ($14.64) for the 48-minute flight.
The airline is able to keep prices low by using aircraft manufactured in China.
Geng Ruguang, chairman of Joy Air, said, "We aim to use China-made aircraft to explore the regional aviation market.
We hope Joy Air can rapidly develop the market by combining China Eastern’s management experience and AVIC’s technology advantage."
AVIC owns 95% of Joy Air’s shares. Joy Air has two types of feeder aircraft: Morden Ark 60 (MA60) and
the ARJ21, both developed by AVIC.
Some 200 MA60 airplanes have been in service for more than 10 years in eight countries including Bolivia, Laos, and the Republic of Congo. Few are used in China.
Alibaba.com said three MA60 aircraft were put into service this month and three more will be added by the end of this year.