Russia is scaling back its involvement in the design of the Craic CR929 wide-body airliner in cooperation with China and could withdraw from the project altogether, Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov said at the plenary session of the Engineers of the Future forum on June 29, 2022. 

“We have this project with China, it is not going the way we would like. As China becomes an industrial giant, it is less and less interested in our services,” Borisov is quoted as saying by Russian state news agency, TASS. 

The Chinese have more requirements than we do today. Our involvement [in the CR929 project] gets smaller and smaller. I don’t want to prognose the future of this project – are we going to withdraw from it or not. So far it is going on,” Borisov said. 

The statement indicates renewed tensions over the project, which had previously been paused due to disagreements between both countries. 

The joint Chinese-Russian project to create a wide-body aircraft capable of competing with the Boeing 787 and the Airbus A330 was initiated in 2014. Craic, a joint venture between Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) and China’s COMAC, was established in 2017 to begin the development and eventual construction of the jet. 

In 2020, the project stalled due to disagreements between the two sides. Reportedly, the UAC did not want to give COMAC exclusive rights to distribute the aircraft in China, which has a significantly larger market for the aircraft and would leave the UAC with the much smaller Russian market. The disagreement resulted in the production of the aircraft being officially delayed by at least three years 

In 2021, after numerous meetings between Chinese and Russian officials, the disagreements were ostensibly resolved, and work on building the airframe of the CR929 prototype commenced. 

Borisov’s comments suggest that not all issues with the project have been resolved, and the future of the CR929 remains uncertain. 

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Production of an airframe for the prototype of the Chinese-Russian CR929 widebody airliner had begun at AeroComposit, a subsidiary of Russia’s UAC