Russia’s UAC sees Russia and China as the main markets for the two countries’ jointly developed CR929 widebody, anchoring a global market for about 8,000 airplanes worth $2.4 trillion over the next 20 years, according to an updated edition of the company’s market forecast presented at Airshow China 2018 in Zhuhai.
Speaking at the show, UAC president Yuri Slyusar said Russia and China account for a total of some 20 percent of the global demand. “Being a single largest buyer for passenger jets, China’s air transportation system is expected to generate most of the solvent demand for our new design,” he said. “Russia’s demand is estimated at 100 to 120 of the airplanes.”
Offering a range of 6,500 nautical miles while carrying 280 passengers, the CR929 would compete directly with the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787. “Out of a thousand aircraft, our product would generate at least half of sales,” said Slyusar. UAC’s estimates call for China to take 250 and Russia 50.
UAC expects Southeast Asian countries also to buy in significant quantity. “We already feel a strong interest from them in our new product,” Slyusar said. “The CR929 is being created by joint efforts of large Russian and Chinese corporations. It is a very complex yet interesting project to shape and manage.” Slyusar further said that the joint work on the CR929 has improved the general atmosphere in Sino-Russian relations, fostering understanding on other projects such as those involving combat jets, airlifters, freighters, and amphibian aircraft. “Here at Zhuhai we are discussing a broad range of programs,” he noted.
UAC estimates the program costs at $13 to $15 billion, compared with Comac’s own estimate of $20 billion. “Either way, the project demands considerable investment,” stressed Slyusar. “It may pay off after fifteen years of production, and, as the manufacturing would continue after that, the project shall generate a profit.”
To support the product for that long, the CR929 would need to encompass a family of aircraft that would undergo updates as necessary.
“Right now, we are at the stage when vendors are selected,” Slyusar explained. “We speak to suitable partners around the globe, but Chinese and Russian companies and their joint ventures are a priority. Through the SSJ100 and MC-21 programs, the Russian vendors are becoming more competitive. The same can be said about the Chinese vendors, which improve through ongoing national programs.”
In his view, the CR929 gives the Russian and Chinese vendors another chance to grow.
“The project is on track,” he said. “The draft design and vendor selection should be complete at the end of the next year.”