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Comac plans to manufacture widebody aircraft

Chinese airframer Comac is firming up plans to manufacture an indigenous widebody aircraft and has tentatively scheduled for it to be rolled out around 2025.

The company has set aside land for a twin-aisle aircraft production facility at its upcoming final assembly centre south of Shanghai's Pudong International Airport.

This is the clearest indication to date of Comac's plans to develop and manufacture widebody aircraft after its indigenous ARJ21 and C919 programmes.

Further details of the new widebody were not immediately available. Comac has set aside 4,000 acres (1,620ha) at the site, where the C919 will also be assembled.

Construction of the widebody facility will only begin after the C919 programme is completed so as to meet the 2014 first flight target for the narrowbody, says a Comac official who did not want to be identified.

"The plan is that once the C919 certification is completed and the aircraft goes into full production, then we will focus on the twin-aisle aircraft. The aim is to have our own widebody aircraft by 2025," the Comac official adds.

The priority for now, however, is on the construction of the narrowbody final assembly hangar where the C919 will be put together. Work for this facility started in December 2010 and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

On the same 4,000-acre site, construction is also ongoing for a component fixing hangar, an aircraft painting facility, a flight test centre and some office buildings.

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