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May 23, 2017

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Home » Business » Transport

Joint venture to rival Boeing, Airbus

CHINA and Russia yesterday announced a joint venture to develop a wide-body jet which will challenge market leaders Boeing and Airbus.

The news comes just over two weeks after the successful maiden flight of China’s first domestically developed narrow-body passenger jet, the C919.

The China-Russia Commercial Aircraft International Corporation Ltd, established by state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China and United Aircraft Corp of Russia, was officially registered yesterday and obtained a business license from Shanghai’s industrial and commercial administration.

The new company, in which the Russian and Chinese sides are equal partners, will be based in the city’s free trade zone in the Pudong New Area.

The aircraft will be assembled in Shanghai, while research and development will be conducted in Moscow, said COMAC Chairman Jin Zhuanglong.

“We will research and develop a more competitive jet that is in line with international standards and make contributions to the global aviation market,” Jin said.

The new jet aims to compete with both of today’s most advanced jets, the Boeing 787 and the Airbus 350.

Its maiden flight is planned for 2025 and the first jet should be delivered around 2028, said Yury Slyusar, UAC’s president.

“The new plane would look to take 10 percent of the market from the B787 and A350,” Slyusar added.

The wide-body jet will seat 280 and have a range of up to 12,000 kilometers. The aim is an economical and efficient jet incorporating heavy use of composite materials.

Guo Bozhi, general manager of COMAC’s wide-body department, said suppliers will be asked to bid for the contract to build the engine by the end of the year.

COMAC and UAC signed a pact in June last year to co-develop a wide-body jet in a ceremony witnessed by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Jin said yesterday that the wide-body project will become a model of cooperation between China and Russia.

Both COMAC and UAC have been developing regional jets and narrow-body aircraft, so they can share their experience in aircraft manufacture, Jin said.

China’s C919 made its maiden flight at Pudong International Airport on May 5.

Meanwhile, the nation’s first home-developed regional jet, the ARJ21, is operating commercially and has carried over 10,000 passengers to date, COMAC said.

“The UAC has the advantage and full experience of the development of composite materials for a jet body, which can be used for the wide-body project,” Slyusar said.

“Our Chinese counterpart has advantages in aircraft manufacturing,” he added.


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