The development of Russian wide-body project Frigate Ecojet, recently renamed Freejet, is to be officially frozen from December 2020, the company’s head revealed to AeroTime News.
“During 2019 and 2020 the project was meeting all the deadlines. Due to uncertainty in the market and the ongoing restructuring of Russian aviation industry it was decided to put the program on freeze starting December 2020,” deputy director of Rosviaconsortium and the head of Frigate Ecojet project Alexander Klimov wrote in an email on November 13, 2020.
According to Klimov, the team behind the airplane was mostly working on the creation of an aviation engineering center that would implement the newest technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI)-driven design. The work on the airplane itself reached the start of a detailed design stage, with the initial design and wind tunnel testing being completed earlier.
Frigate Ecojet is a project of three-aisle middle of the market (MOM) airliner with an oval cross-section of the fuselage designed to carry between 302 and 399 passengers depending on the configuration.
In 2016, its concept was changed from twinjet to quadjet, as engines of sufficient power were unavailable, according to the company. The renewed model was named Freejet.
The first stage of its development was started in the early 1990s, with the plane – then designated the Tu-304 – intended to compete with the Boeing 777 on the long-range market. It was revived in the late 2000s to become the mid-range airplane of the new generation, occupying the same niche as the Boeing 757.