China, Rus­sia team up to make wide-body planes

China Daily European Weekly - - CHINA NEWS - By ZHU WENQIAN zhuwen­qian@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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

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