Beijing - The CRAIC consortium, formed by aircraft manufacturers Chinese COMAC and Russian UAC, now has a structure and has confirmed its initial schedule.

The preliminary design of the future long-haul CR929 and the choice of subcontractors will be announced in 2018. Its entry into service is planned in 2025 for the moment.

On December 22, United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) and Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) announced in a press release that they had approved the budget and organizational structure of the CRAIC (China-Russia Commercial Aircraft International Corporation). The 50-50 joint venture to develop the future long-haul CR929.

The preliminary design of CR929 is to be presented next year. The negotiations between the partners for primary systems and equipment will also start next year and last one and a half years. The CR929 will be equipped with "Western engines" at first, but an in-house built engine is being envisaged by 2027. The estimated development cost of the aircraft is 13 billion dollars.

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The first version of the long-haul will be the CR929-600, which could carry up to 280 passengers in three classes and 416 in single-class over 7450 NM (12,000 km).

It will be followed by CR929-700 with a capacity of 320 passengers in three classes over 6200 NM (10,000 km), and CR929-500, 250 passengers in three classes over 8700NM (14,000 km). The fate of a 390-seat C939 mentioned in November 2016 remains unknown.

The first flight is planned around 2023, two years before the entry into service. The composite wings and empennage will be produced in Russia. COMAC will take care of the fuselage and the final assembly in Shanghai.

The China-Russia Commercial Aircraft International Corporation Limited (CRAIC) was launched on May 22, 2017, in Shanghai. The consortium aims to reach a 10% market share in a very competitive environment dominated by Boeing and Airbus for 9,100 widebodies over 20 years, with a plane 10-15% cheaper than the rivals.