Russian-Chinese wide-body: background and outlook

By Bjorn Fehrm Subscription required. Introduction August 21, 2016, ©. Leeham Co: The discussions around a joint Russian and Chinese development of a 250-300 seat wide-body has been going on for years. The project got a more concrete form at President Putin’s visit to China in June. On the 25th of June visit, an inter-governmental agreement to develop and market the aircraft was signed.
Russian-Chinese widebody

Figure 1. Concept for new wide-body airliner. Source: United Aircraft.

At the same time Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) and Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) agreed to establish a joint venture for the program. What market is this aircraft trying to address and will it become a serious player in the wide-body market? Will it give the duopoly Airbus/Boeing something to worry about? We will address these questions in a series of articles. Before going into the questions around the wide-body program, we will look at the players, UAC and COMAC. Are they up to the job of making a competitive wide-body aircraft? Summary:
  • Russia and China enter the wide-body project with widely different knowledge bases.
  • China’s first airliner project, ARJ21, just received local certification after years of delays.
  • Russia has produced over 10,000 airliners and has made two generations of wide-body aircraft in the size category.
  • The latest wide-body aircraft, Ilyushin IL-96, is on the level of Airbus A340-300 from a technological basis.

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