Will The CRAIC CR929 Be Ready By 2025?

The CRAIC CR929, a joint widebody aircraft under development by Russia and China, may not be on track to be ready by 2025. In fact, it may not even be ready by 2027.

Getty
The C929 may be delayed delivery and won’t reach its target of 2025-2027. Photo: Getty Images

What is the CRAIC CR929?

As most airlines in the world exclusively use either Airbus or Boeing products (especially so now that Bombardier and Embraer now also have partnership agreements with these manufacturers) you might be mistaken in thinking that there are no other contenders for the aviation marketplace.

However, Russia and China have both seen the western world’s dominance in this regard and have long since thought they could bring their own ideas to the market. And with Boeing predicting widebody market demand will increase substantially over the next few decades to a figure of 7690 aircraft worth $1.2 trillion USD, they will need to move fast to get a piece of that action.

Advertisement

Enter the CRAIC/COMAC CR929.

Advertisement

The CR929 will be the former Soviet-world’s answer to the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350. A twin-engine widebody aircraft capable of carrying 261-291 passengers (2-class seating) to a range of 12,000 km / 6,480 nautical miles. It has been specially designed for the markets of Russia, China and fellow pan-Asian countries like India and Vietnam.

However, despite ambitious targets to get this aircraft to market, the developers have yet to build a prototype and don’t even have a flying proof of concept. The initial joint venture had a seven-year goal in 2012, but now it looks like even their later 2025 introduction date might be missed.

Advertisement
C929
The widebody C929 will likely not reach its first flight date. Photo: COMAC

Engine problems

According to a report from CNBC, 2025 might be a bit too ambitious for the new airframe builder.

One of the problems is how the aircraft is being manufactured. Russia will be building the wings of the aircraft, whilst China will be building the fuselage. However, there is some confusion over the engine option. Are either of the two countries building them, or are they being built by GE, Pratt & Witney or Rolls Royce?

Originally the design called for either GE or Rolls Royce to power the aircraft, but just before the type was revealed at the 2018 Zhuhai airshow, another joint project between China and Russia to build a new aircraft engine was announced.

Then, before officials could release a statement, both a Chinese company (Aero Engine Corporation of China) and a Russian company (Russia’s United Engine Corporation) threw their hats into the ring and wanted to be considered.

Getty
A mockup of the C929 business class cabin. Photo: Getty Images

Why does this complicate the delivery date?

If the design isn’t locked in for an engine yet, then the engine manufactures can’t plan around building the engines. Unlike products like a car or items you might find in a supermarket, aircraft engines are built to spec for different planes and require plenty of lead time to engineer and build.

This is especially so for a new aircraft design where the engines need to be tested and reach certification. Airbus and Boeing fly their new aircraft for around one to two years before they start to deliver the aircraft. For CRAIC, they are less experienced and will need to have as much time to get their design right. And because of this, 2025 is a little too close for comfort.

What do you think? Will they have their first flight and delivery by 2025? Let us know in the comments.

Advertisement

16
Leave a Reply

newest oldest most voted
Rishaban

Given the Impact of COVID-19 , I don’t think China will be able to complete it before 2025

Gerry S

No way, no how. Especially now that US has issues with providing power plants.

Damon

Rip off. Cough.

John

Don’t underestimate the Chinese and Russians. It’s a sore point for government and national pride that their state owned airlines must use Western jets. Homegrown airliners will be the future of these two countries, along with those in their sphere of influence.

I personally would give them a shot, and beating American jets will be an increasingly lowered bar, with how all the airplane manufacturers have fallen from grace.

Sam Theman

This CEO is delusional. To think that he feels airports should spend billions of dollars to accommodate one a380 wet lease that only flies four times a year whereas all the other a380s are being phased out and scrapped. High Fly won’t last with such a m***n at the helm

Doz

You only have to look at the ‘modern’ jet types they are still testing to know it won’t happen. I am saying 2030 at the very earliest for first flight.

Allan

C919 is the 1:1 copy of the A320ceo, C929 is the 1:1 copy of the B787… Who needs this (bad) copies at all?

David

Russian history shows an undeniable advanced capability in the aviation industry. It is to me some surprise that they appear on the back foot competing with Airbus or Boeing. A casual glance at the competing aircraft, from any angle, is often not enough to put a name to them. They are all so very similar to the average observer. Is that any surprise really when copycat is at work and the same formulae and computer analysis/design is at work? Can we look forward to something innovative, different?
As for engines, all our major engine makers have nasty development issues. The GE engine for the 777 is a headache, The RR Trent problems are well known, and PW also have had their troubles. Of all the parts of an aircraft it seems to me that the all important engines, now only two at a time, need serious attention regards reliability. Hardly a week goes by when an engine problem is not reported somewhere in the world.

George K.

Boeing taking an existing airframe and attempting to strap on new engines that compromise the aerodynamics of the airframe; and subsequently attempting to introduce software that would constantly compensate for the failed airframe/engine design is a sociopath’s psychotic dream. Reminds me of the managers that ignored the O-ring design failure that resulted in the Challenger rocket booster’s failure. When will we learn to place profit second to passenger safety?