OTT Airlines, the Shanghai-based subsidiary of China Eastern Airlines, has launched its first route to Beijing.

Created in February, OTT Airlines will serve as a case study for how Chinese aircraft can be deployed more broadly across the commercial airline industry, said China Eastern’s chairman Liu Shaoyong, according to China News Service.

OTT Airlines currently has three Comac ARJ21 aircraft, with plans to grow exclusively using the Chinese-made jets. By 2025, the carrier expects to have 35 ARJ21s, each of which can seat up to 90 passengers. 

Comfort levels on the ARJ21, including seat pitch, recline, and width, are comparable to other aircraft operated by parent company China Eastern, said the airline. 

The ARJ21 is a direct competitor to the Airbus A220 in the sub-100 seater aircraft market.

In 2022, OTT Airlines also plans to receive deliveries of the Comac C919, a Chinese-built alternative to the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737, on behalf of China Eastern.

The Shanghai-Beijing maiden flight comes amid a rebound in domestic demand across the world’s second-largest economy, although this has tapered off in recent months.

Following Beijing, the airline plans to launch routes from its Shanghai Hongqiao hub to Nanchang, Hefei, and Wenzhou, said OTT Airlines general manager Zhai Zhigang, according to China News Service.