China’s Comac has reportedly began working on preliminary designs for a new widebody aircraft under the C939 moniker. 

A report from Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, citing an unnamed source, says the Shanghai-based airframer has drawn out design concepts for the new jet, but notes that it will take several years before an actual prototype is developed. 

Comac Stand

Source: Alfred Chua/FlightGlobal

Comac’s current widebody development is the 6,480nm-range C929

The report, published on 13 May, offers no technical specifications about the new programme, including the number of engines or its seat count. 

Contacted by FlightGlobal, Comac declines to comment, and would only say to wait for official confirmation. 

The report also notes that Comac’s other in-development widebody programme, the C929, is making good progress. Comac is looking to pitch the twin-aisle as an alternative to the Boeing 787 and Airbus A330. 

The C929 was a former joint venture with Russian airframer United Aircraft, but the alliance was quietly axed following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

In April, Comac kicked off a series of research meetings, bringing together a large group of academics, scientists and engineers, as well as government officials. 

The C929, which has yet to clinch a launch customer, will have around 280 seats and has a range of up to 6,480nm (12,000km).

Comac’s C919 narrowbody programme, meanwhile, has clinched almost 1,000 firm orders, according to Cirium fleets data, with another 700 aircraft covered by more tentative agreements.

Deliveries of the C919 have been glacial since it was certificated by Chinese authorities in late 2022. China Eastern is the only operator of the type, and has four examples in service, according to its fleet data issued in mid-April.