China, Russia team up to make wide-body planes
China and Russia launched a joint venture in Shanghai on May 22 to build a wide-body aircraft that ultimately aims to break the global market duopoly of Boeing and Airbus.
Commercial Aircraft Corp of China and Russia’s United Aircraft Corp will each hold four seats on the eightmember board of the venture, named China-Russia Commercial Aircraft International Co Ltd.
But the two companies declined to release the share structure of the enterprise.
Vladislav Masalov, vice-president of UAC, will serve as chairman and Guo Bozhi, assistant general manager of COMAC, will be general manager of CRAIC.
The Shanghai-based company will be responsible for research, development, operation and sales of the aircraft, which is expected to be delivered in 10 years. It will start initial design of the jet soon and hold discussions with system and equipment suppliers, COMAC said in a statement.
The jet, which will have 280 seats and a range of up to 12,000 kilometers, will be assembled in Shanghai.
Lin Zhijie, an aviation industry analyst and columnist at Carnoc. one of China’s largest civil aviation web portals, says China’s booming growth in international flights, especially long-haul routes, requires wide-body aircraft.
“The aviation industry is a sector with small profits and China spends a lot of money buying wide-body aircraft from Boeing and Airbus every year. If it has its own products, it will help significantly reduce cost of aircraft purchases, and airlines will be able to raise their profitability and offer cheaper tickets to customers.”
COMAC and UAC say they plan to build an economical and efficient jet relying heavily on composite materials. It will mainly compete with twinaisle aircraft such as the Boeing 777 and Airbus A330.
“The launch of the company signals an important step for the widebody project,” says Jin Zhuanglong, president of COMAC. “We will cooperate with UAC and strive to make the wide-body project a model of the cooperation between China and Russia. We will develop a more competitive jet that is in line with international standards.”
But compared with the singleaisle C919, China’s first domestically developed large passenger jet that made its debut flight in May, the wide-body aircraft requires a higher technological level and will face significant challenges because development is highly complicated, Lin says.
“We will develop a more competitive jet that is in line with international standards.” JIN ZHUANGLONG president of COMAC