(Yicai Global) Nov. 8 -- China Commercial Aircraft, or COMAC, is striving to begin production of the first CR929 plane developed in tandem with Russia by 2021 as it looks to widen its portfolio of aircraft.
The two nations are currently drafting preliminary designs and selecting suppliers, The Paper cited COMAC's Deputy General Manager Guo Bozhi as saying at an industry leaders' summit during the China International Import Expo yesterday. He did not disclose further details.
The CR929 is a wide-body passenger aircraft that China and Russia agreed to build together and set up a Shanghai-based joint venture to design in May 2017. The base model CR929-600 is benchmarked against the Boeing 787 and has 280 seats and a maximum range of 12,000 kilometers.
COMAC is looking to expand its plane portfolio beyond the self-develop regional airliner ARJ21, Guo added. The firm showcased the ARJ21 at the Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition and Paris Air Show this year, and has plans to make a new version of the jet intended for cargo transport.
The ARJ21 models can transport between 78 and 90 passengers over distances from 2,225 to 3,700 kilometers and is capable of operating at all of China's regular plateau airports and most of its high plateau airports. The Civil Aviation Administration of China defines regular plateau airports as those at between 1,524 meters and 2,438 meters above sea level, while high plateau airports are more than 2,438 meters above.
Three domestic carriers already run the planes, Chengdu Airlines, Genghis Khan Airlines and Jiangxi Air. They have already transported 570,000 passengers between 36 cities, Guo said, adding that COMAC will begin delivering ARJ21s to China's big three airlines, China Eastern, Air China and China Southern, next year.
It hopes to delivery 10 of the jets in 2021, the same year it plans to start delivering its first large passenger jet, the C919, he continued. The C919 has already begun test flights.
Editor: James Boynton