China and Russia to start building ambitious CR929 in 2021

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Craic, a joint corporation of Chinese COMAC and Russian UAC, is set to start building their new wide-body airliner CR929 in 2021.

The news was announced by Yang Zhigang, pre-research chief engineer of COMAC, in an interview to Chinese newspaper The Paper.

According to Yang, the design of the aircraft is finalized and the main suppliers are set. Currently, the company is in the process of ensuring that core systems of the plane have two or more suppliers, which is an insurance mechanism employed by main aircraft manufacturers worldwide.

The CR929 is going to be a wide-body aircraft in competition with the Boeing 787 and theAirbus A330. The base model, CR929-600, will seat 280 passengers and have a range of at least 12,000 kilometers (7,500 miles).

The completion of the prototype of CR929, as outlined by Yang, will open a way for flight testing and eventual mass production of the aircraft. In December 2020, chief designer of COMAC Chen Yingchun revealed that the company hoped to start delivering new aircraft to air carriers in 2023.

The optimistic schedule also means that Russia and China managed to resolve their differences. In mid-2020, the new aircraft became a center point of a conflict between UAC and COMAC, as the two companies struggled to find agreement regarding market shares for the aircraft. 

Although the resolution of the differences was not announced, November 2020 saw a dedicated meeting between Russian and Chinese industry ministers and an agreement to resume the development of the aircraft.


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