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China Focus: China-Russia jet development program progresses

(Xinhua)    19:07, November 03, 2016

SHANGHAI, Nov. 3  -- A joint venture to develop a wide-body jet is expected to start operations later this year in Shanghai, with delivery scheduled in 10 years, according to the Chinese manufacturer.

The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) and United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) of Russiahave created a plan and will unveil a timetable at an "appropriate" time, according to a COMAC statement issued during the ongoing 11th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition.

COMAC presented a model version of the long-haul airplane at the six-day show held in the southern Chinese city of Zhuhai.

In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, Yury Slyusar, president of UAC, said total financing has not been calculated yet, but a preliminary estimate put it between 13 billion and 20 billion U.S. U.S. dollars, which would be split equally by the two firms.

According to the plan, UAC will develop and manufacture wings as Russia boasts sophisticated technology for wing-making with composite material, while COMAC will focus on the fuselage and assembly, Slyusar said.

Assembly will be carried out in Shanghai, and a maiden flight is expected in seven years "based on experience," said the COMAC statement.

The basic version of the plane will have 280 seats and a range of 12,000 kilometers. Slyusar said the new jet's operating costs would be 10 percent lower than that of rivals.

The two companies signed the joint venture contract in June. Joint development is conducive to sharing risks and improving the success rate, said the statement, adding that the Chinese and Russian markets will be the foundation for success.

Slyusar estimated that Asia-Pacific region will be the market with largest demand for new airplanes by 2035, adding that the firm is working to bring its Sukhoi SSJ-100 and MS-21 passenger jets to the Chinese market.

He revealed that UAC is likely to be part of a joint engine development program, which may involve a Chinese state-owned manufacturer.

Airbus forecast that China will need 5,970 new passenger aircraft and freighters from 2016 to 2035, with a total market value of 945 billion U.S. dollars. China represents 18 percent of the world total demand for the next 20 years.

Airbus rival Boeing is also optimistic about the Chinese market. It predicted that China will need 6,810 new passenger aircraft and freighters in the next 20 years. Chinese airlines are Boeing's biggest customers, receiving 25 percent of delivered Boeing airplanes over the past three years.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Du Mingming, Bianji)

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