COMAC chief designer Chen Yingchun said that despite problems, the development of CRAIC CR929 wide-body airliner is going according to plan.
“According to our estimation, the overall global market demand of wide-body jetliners from 2023 to 2045 will be about 10,000, of which 989 orders will be for the CR929,” Yingchun said at Zhejiang Aerospace Industry International Summit 2020 on December 11, 2020.
270 of those orders are expected to come from China, meaning that the company has high hopes for an international market.
By 2023 – the launch date of the aircraft – China is expected to become the largest aviation market in the world, according to Yingchun. The CR929 will be able to operate on the majority of the country’s current air routes and serve transcontinental ones, such as connections to the Eastern coast of North America.
A joint project of Chinese COMAC and Russian UAC, the CR929 was first conceived, as a twin-engine long-range aircraft of a new generation in 2016. It is both the first Chinese wide-body airliner and the first Russian wide-body airliner since the fall of the Soviet Union.
In the mid-2020, the joint nature of the project led to difficulties and delays, as Russian and Chinese sides could not agree on responsibilities of the sale of the aircraft. Russian media reported that the start of the deliveries of the aircraft was delayed from 2025 to 2027-2029.
On November 3, 2020, Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov and Chinese Minister of Industry and Information Technology Xiao Yaqing agreed to solve the disagreements and proceed with the development, although it was not announced who would get the rights to sell the aircraft on the Chinese market.
Yingchun’s remarks and the pulling of the delivery deadline, likely means that both sides managed to find the solution.