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China, Russia to jointly build passenger jets to rival Boeing, Airbus

LiveMint logoLiveMint 22-05-2017 K. J. M. Varma

Beijing: China and Russia have firmed up their close ties with an agreement to set up a joint venture to build wide-body passenger jets to break into the lucrative market dominated by Boeing and Airbus.

The Shanghai-based China-Russia Commercial Aircraft International Co Ltd (CRAIC) has completed its business registration and obtained a license to operate, said its Chinese parent, state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC).

COMAC chairman Jin Zhuanglong said the joint venture marks key progress in a Sino-Russian programme to develop wide-body aircraft and aims to produce “competitive” long-haul planes for the world’s aviation market.

CRAIC will be responsible for research, manufacturing, marketing, sales and services of its aircraft. According to an agreement by COMAC and its Russian partner United Aircraft Corp (UAC), 280-seat jets with a range of 12,000 kilometers will be prioritised.

The aircraft design process will soon begin, according to the plan. The general assembly line will be based in Shanghai. An eight-member strong board of directors, half from China and half from Russia, will be headed by UAC vice president Vladislav Masalov.

Earlier this month, COMAC’s narrow-body passenger aircraft C919 completed its maiden flight. The C919 is China’s first domestically-produced large aircraft, designed to rival Airbus’ updated A320 and Boeing’s new generation B737.

COMAC already has two aircraft from its regional model ARJ21 on the mark, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. PTI

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