Comac moves ahead with C929 widebody as Russian joint venture collapses

Avatar photo

The Chinese aerospace giant Comac continues the design of its new wide-body jet aircraft C929 independently as its joint venture with Russia to build the plane collapsed.

Addressing an aviation conference in Beijing on Friday, Qi Xuefeng, vice president of the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac), said that the design of the C929 wide-body airliner has progressed. “The C929 aircraft has entered (the stage of) detailed design. At the same time, we are making efforts in the areas of hybrid aircraft, electrichas hydrogen and other new energy aircraft to provide more economical, comfortable and environmentally friendly products”,” Qi said at the conference organized by the China Air Transport Association (CATA). He made no mention of Russian involvement in the project.

Some media outlets have suggested that Russian aerospace and defense company United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) had abandoned its partnership with Comac to develop a wide-body jet plane. In 2017, the two companies established a joint venture in Shanghai to focus on building a wide-body jet initially called the CR929. The project was marred by delays from the start. And the Russian aerospace industry was heavily sanctioned by the United States and its allies after the invasion of Ukraine by Moscow last year. There has been no official statement from Comac or UAC on the status and future of the joint venture. Nor was there any mention of Russia’s involvement in Comac’s September announcement of the creation of a laboratory specifically responsible for designing the C929. The laboratory reflects China’s commitment to achieving “technological autonomy”to accelerate the development of the C929 and to strengthen its “independent innovation capabilities” for the manufacture of wide-body aircraft, Comac said in a September 28 statement.

Comac also manufactures a narrow-body jet, the C919, and Qi said that the development and production of the C919 series will be accelerated, according to a statement released by CATA on Saturday. The C919 is designed to compete with Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320. The C929 is the first intercontinental jet aircraft produced in China, with a capacity of 250 to 350 seats and an autonomy of 12,000 kilometers.

Earlier on October 23, Wu Guanghui, chief designer of the domestically developed C919, said that the carbon emissions of the C929 would be reduced by 60% compared to older models, adding that the C929 aircraft was currently under preliminary design and would adopt a series of measures. to reduce its impact environmental. Qi also highlighted the latest improvements to China-produced aircraft, including that the C919 was performing as expected, with more than 1,000 flight hours.

A total of 116 aircraft ARJ21manufactured by COMAC, have been delivered to date, carrying more than 9.6 million passengers, and have become the backbone of China’s regional aviation market, Qi added.

John Walker Avatar