First CR929 wide-body started to be manufactured, says China

Joint COMAC and UAC program, commercial aircraft is expected to enter into service in 2023

Production of the CR929 first prototype would have started in China, the Jiefang Daily newspaper reported on Thursday.

A joint project between COMAC and UAC, the wide-body aircraft is similar in size to the Boeing 787 and aims to reduce dependence on long-range passenger aircraft in Russia and China.

The program, however, has gone through several difficulties due to the Chinese decision to have exclusivity in the domestic market, leaving the (unlikely) exports to the Russians.

Apparently, the differences have been resolved and the CR929 is now on track, with production of the first aircraft starting in Linang, COMAC’s new industrial area south of Shanghai-Pudong Airport.

The information is part of the China Civil Aviation Development Plan, which also addresses the ARJ21 and C919 programs.

At the same time, Russian company AeroComposite revealed that it is in the process of being contracted to supply CR929 wing components, which will use composite. It is speculated that a new plant will be installed in Vladivostok, in the far east of Russia.

CRAIC CR929 mock-up

1,000 planes

CRAIC, a joint venture formed by COMAC and UAC, plans to offer three variants of the aircraft, the CR929-500, CR929-600 and CR929-700. The first one will be the intermediate version, with 63.3 meters long, 61.2 meters wingspan and height of 18 meters.

The CR929-600 will be able to carry up to 282 passengers over a distance of 12,000 km, according to preliminary data.

Last year, COMAC’s head of design, Chen Yingchun, gave an interview in which he made optimistic predictions about the double-aisle plane. According to him, more than 1,000 aircraft should be produced between 2023 and 2045.

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