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Comac outlines details of C919 twinjet family

Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac) used Asian Aerospace to unveil its C919 passenger jet to the international marketplace and revealed more details about the twinjet.

There will be a standard model with a range of 4,075km (2,200nm) and a long-range model able to fly 5,555km, says Comac assistant general manager Wang Wenbin.

The C919 will seat 168 passengers in all-economy class or 156 in a mixed-class configuration, he says.

An industry source says Comac also plans to make a larger and smaller version of the C919 - a 130-seater and a 190-seater.

Although Comac has yet to finalise the C919's design, it displayed a large-scale concept model at the show.

The Chinese firm is in negotiations with Western and local suppliers including engine-makers.

Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) Commercial Engines wants to supply engines, but concedes that the first C919s are likely to have Western engines because 2016 is too soon for it to develop Chinese powerplants.

Comac is speaking to all the major Western engine-makers .

Pratt & Whitney vice-president commercial engines for China, Thomas Nakano, says "we are talking to the Chinese about powering their single-aisle aircraft" and "our preference is to go through International Aero Engines".

But he also says P&W's geared turbofan engine can power the C919 and P&W has talked to Comac about using it.

Comac aims to have first flight of the C919 in 2014 and certification and service entry in 2016. P&W's GTF engine will be ready for service in 2013.

China is also developing the ARJ21-700, a GE CF34-10A powered 90-seat regional jet, that has been built and is now working through the Chinese certification process.

Service entry is due in late 2010 with China's Kunpeng Airlines the launch operator.

China earlier announced it will also develop a -900 stretched version of the ARJ21, but industry sources say Comac is looking to shelve the -900 programme so it can focus on the C919.

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