China and Russia completed registration of a new joint venture, China-Russia Commercial Aircraft International (CRAIC), on Monday in order to develop a new wide-body jet that can compete with rivals such as Boeing and Airbus. The development will be lead by China’s Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC) and Russia’s United Aircraft Corp (UAC). The project is owned 50/50 by the two companies.

“This program is aimed at fulfilling future market demand,” said Jin Zhuanglong, president of COMAC. “Our two countries, our two firms, have created this joint venture to undertake responsibilities such as organization, research, management, and implementation.”

It is estimated that the aircraft will cost $13 billion. According to CRAIC leaders, this is 10-15% cheaper than products produced by Boeing and Airbus. CRAIC’s China offices, operated by COMAC, will be responsible for most of the research, manufacturing, marketing, sales, and services of the aircraft. UAC will focus on the business side of the operation, handling such as “inmarketing and business planning activities”, according to UAC President Yury Slyusar.

CRAIC says that it wants to focus on making a jet with 280 seats and a range of 12000 kilometers, or about 7455 miles. Variants of the plane are being planned to accommodate as little as 230 or as many as 320 passengers. The plane will be nicknamed the C929.

Though COMAC and UAC have been planning this joint venture since 2014, Zhuanglong said that COMAC wanted to wait until after the C919’s first flight to announce it. CRAIC says that it is already in talks with Chinese airlines and lessors who may be interested in buying the aircraft. A maiden flight and first delivery can be expected during 2025-2028.

Categories: Industry Talk