United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) and Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac) provided aircraft enthusiasts a glimpse of the new aircraft in mock-up form at Airshow China-2016, taking place in Zhuhai, China this week.
Company representatives complemented the unveiling of the mockup by announcing that they have begun a search for suppliers. Officials did not specify funding details or technical characteristics of the joint project, but were able to confirm that the assembly of the new plane will take place in Shanghai. The unveiling was attended by Comac chairman Jin Zhuanglong, OAK director Yuri Slyusar and Russian Trade and Industry Minister Denis Manturov.
The new, as yet unnamed jetliner is expected to start flight testing in 2021, and to enter commercial production by 2025. The project was announced in 2014 during President Vladimir Putin's visit to China as part of a $13 billion deal on aviation cooperation, but few new details have been made available about its development since.
The wide-body aircraft is certainly an ambitious project, given that it hopes to compete with Airbus and Boeing's commercial sales leaders, the A330, the A350, the Boeing 777, and the Boeing 787.
According to Comac wide-body department manager Guo Bohzi, the joint venture in Shanghai, whose shares are divided equally between the two parties, will start its work this year. "A wide-body jet is an extremely complicated product, which will require a lot of modern technology, experience and skills," Guo said, speaking to reporters at the airshow. "China and Russia each have their own advantages," he added.
Up to three variants of the plane may be built. The aircraft will have two aisles, space for between 250-280 passengers, and a range of up to 12,000 km, making it perfect for long-haul flights.
UAC's stand and the Sukhoi Superjet 100 at the international aviation and aerospace show AirShow China-2016