China and Russia have started planning and cooperating in order to construct a new wide body jet. Their hopes are to compete with Boeing and Airbus. The new wide body aircraft is meant to be the same size as Boeing and Airbus’ most advanced aircraft: the 787 and the A350, respectively. CNN money reports that the aircraft project has the backing from the most senior members of each country’s’ government. The agreement between the countries has been in the works since 2016. It was then when the country’s presidents decided to pen a cooperation agreement.
For now, there are very few details as to what the airplane will look like. The expectations are that the plane will have a range of 12,000 km, which is much less than the 787’s 15,000 kms. In terms of seating, the aircraft will have room for around 280 passengers in a three class configuration. The airplane will have a larger capacity than the 787-8, and meet around the same capacity as the 787-10. The aircraft has been labeled C9X9.
Chinese Aerospace is Taking Off
The announcement of the partnership comes on the heels of the Chinese manufacturer Comac’s first aircraft launch. Their C919 took to the skies on May 5th. The airliner is China’s first domestically designed and built aircraft. The plane carries 168 passengers, and competes with the A320 and 737-800. Most orders for the aircraft are mainland Chinese carriers. The plane has been delayed for over 2 years, given that the original launch flight was slated for 2015, and enter service in 2016.
Russian Aerospace Trying to Revive
As far as Russian aviation goes, the country has found moderate success with their newesr airlines. The Sukhoi S100 has found customers in Mexico and Europe, beyond Russia. The country is also planning on launching a new aircraft the Irkut MC-21. The airplane should be having its maiden flight in the next coming months. It is meant to compete with the A321, and replace the Tupolev Tu-204 & Tu-214. The airframe has not had as much success as the S100, and the only customers are within Russia.
I am excited to see new aircraft coming into the market. The regional jet market is getting saturated. The Embraer EJets, the Bombardier C-Series, the S100 and the Mitsubishi MRJ have filled up the segment. The middle range aircraft market has been controlled by Airbus and Boeing, just like the widebody market. It will take time to see if the C919 and the MC-21 can catch on and have limited success throughout the world. I am excited to try out the aircraft, however. It would be cool to compare the them to US and European aircraft.
What do you think? Would you ride the C919, MC-21 or any other Russian or Chinese aircraft? Let us know!
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