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China, Russia to invest in long-haul jet

November 3, 2016

Chinese and Russian aircraft corporations have provided more details on their plan to develop a long-haul wide-bodied jet. The move came as the two nations seek to challenge Western rivals Boeing and Airbus.

China erstes Flugzeug aus eigene Produktion C919 offizielle Vorführung
China's C919Image: picture-alliance/dpa

China and Russia would invest up to $20 billion (18 billion euros) in the production of a long-haul passenger jet, reports said Thursday.

The ambitious plan was first agreed between the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) and Russia's United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) in June when Russian President Vladimir Putin met his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Beijing.

COMAC said in a statement Thursday that the joint venture would be set up in Shanghai later this year with the aim of developing a 280-seat wide-body plane with a range of 12,000 kilometers (7456 miles).

That would put it in direct competition with Boeing's 787 and the Airbus A350.

Synergy effects

"COMAC has outstanding technology and designs and we will not only cooperate in technology, but also in intellectual property, UAC President Yury Slyusar told China's state-run "Global Times" newspaper at the China Airshow in the southern city of Zhuhai.

COMAC said the new plane would make its first flight in seven years, with deliveries to begin three years later.

It added that it would keep the project open and select global suppliers willing to "jointly shoulder risks."

China is expected to become the world's largest aviation market. Airbus for instance estimated that the Asian giant would need nearly 6,000 new planes in the next two decades.

COMAC is also producing its own single-aisle jet, the C919 (pictured above). The corporation noted it had so far received 570 orders for the plane from 23 customers around the world.

hg/jd (Reuters, AFP)