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​Comac, UAC set up joint venture for widebody effort

Comac and United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) have established a joint venture company to develop a Sino-Russian widebody aircraft.

The new entity will be known as China-Russia Commercial Aircraft Corporation (CRAIC), say the companies in a joint statement.

CRAIC is based in Shanghai and will oversee all aspects of the programme, including technology development, manufacturing, marketing, sales, customer services, and programme management.

Its first chairman, Vladislav Masolov, is an executive at UAC. Its first general manager is Guo Bozhi of Comac. The board will have four directors from each side.

"The supplier selection of CRAIC shall be based on market-oriented and standardized principles," says the statement. "CRAIC will carry out global bidding and provide priority to suppliers that are more experienced, can provide competitive product and willing to share the risk during development."

The statement adds that suppliers are encouraged to consider local manufacturing, either through "local investment or joint ventures."

Comac chairman Jin Zhuanglong adds that the aircraft, which will have a range of 12,000km and 280 seats, will seek international certification in order to access the global market.

In early May, sources told FlightGlobal that the establishment of the joint venture was imminent.

They add that once the company is set up, details on the work-share between the two countries should emerge. The firms will collaborate on the development, production and aftersales support of the widebody. Engine manufacturers tell FlightGlobal that a request for proposals for engines is expected to be issued in October. The request for other major systems should follow next year.

The statement confirms that final assembly of the aircraft will take place in Shanghai.

A source had previously told FlightGlobal that that UAC will develop the wing of the jet, as well as the tail section, while Comac will be in charge of manufacturing the fuselage, as well as the final assembly process.

The aircraft's wing will be fully composite, making use of technology from the Irkut MC- 21's wing, while the fuselage will be largely aluminium. The two parties plan to invest a total of $13-20 billion on the project.

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