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COMAC teams with Russian company to make wide-body jet

By Zhu Wenqian | China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-23 07:25

China and Russia launched a joint venture in Shanghai on Monday to build a widebody aircraft that ultimately aims to break the global market duopoly of Boeing Co and Airbus Group SE.

Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China and Russia's United Aircraft Corp will each hold four seats in the eight-member board of the joint venture, named China-Russia Commercial Aircraft International Co Ltd.

But the two companies declined to release 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 manger of CRAIC.

The Shanghai-based company will be responsible for research, development, operation and sales of the widebody 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.

COMAC teams with Russian company to make wide-body jet

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, one of China's largest civil aviation web portals, said China's booming growth of international flights, especially long-haul routes, requires widebody aircraft.

"The aviation industry is a sector with small profits, and China spends a lot of money on buying widebody aircraft from Boeing and Airbus every year. If it has its own products, it will help significantly reduce the cost on 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 incorporating heavy use of composite materials. It will mainly compete with twin-aisle aircraft such as the Boeing B777 and Airbus A330.

"The launch of the company signals an important step of the widebody project," said Jin Zhuanglong, president of COMAC.

"We will cooperate with UAC and strive to make the widebody project a model of the cooperation between China and Russia. We will develop a more competitive jet that is in line with international standards," he added.

But compared with the single-aisle C919, China's first domestically developed large passenger jet, which made its maiden flight earlier this month, the wide-body aircraft requires a higher technological level and will face significant challenges because the development of widebody aircraft is highly complicated, Lin said.

"Bombardier, a well-known global aircraft manufacturer, faces great challenges since it entered the market of trunk liners from the regional aircraft market. The pace of COMAC has been quite fast, as the C919 aircraft just finished its maiden flight and has not been delivered yet, and COMAC also faces big challenges," he said.

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