China and Russia will start construction of the COMAC CR929 aircraft in 2021
Craic, a joint venture between COMAC in China and UAC in Russia, is set to begin construction of a new CR929 wide-body airliner in 2021. The news was announced by Yang Zhigang, COMAC's chief pre-research engineer. in an interview with The Chinese newspaper The Paper.
According to Yang, the design of the aircraft has been completed and the main suppliers have been established. The company is currently seeking to ensure the existence of at least two suppliers for each aircraft system. This is just a safety precaution for the company, used by major aircraft manufacturers around the world.
The CR929 will be a wide-body aircraft and will compete with the Boeing 787 and Airbus A330 aircraft. The basic model, CR929-600, will have 280 seats and a range of at least 12.000 kilometers (7.500 miles).
Craic hopes to start delivering the new aircraft to airlines in 2023.
Completion of the CR929 prototype, as Yang pointed out, will pave the way for testing and eventual mass production of the aircraft. In December 2020, COMAC chief designer Chen Yingchun said the manufacturer hoped to start delivering the new aircraft to airlines in 2023.
This project is a unique collaboration between Russia and China. In mid-2020, the new aircraft became the focus of a conflict between UAC and COMAC, as the two companies struggled to find an agreement on the aircraft's market shares.
Although we do not know if the problems have been resolved, a dedicated meeting between Russian and Chinese industry ministers took place in November 2020 and an agreement was signed to resume aircraft development.