After the departure of the UAC, COMAC COMAC is already referring to its future Chinese widebody as the C929, as shown by the aircraft’s chief designer, Wu Guanghui, during the International Forum on Green Aviation, held in Hefei, China.
Wu Guanghui, who was also responsible for the C919 narrowbody jet, revealed the former CR929 twin-aisle aircraft is in the preliminary design phase, but that it is already possible to estimate that it will emit up to 60% less carbon emissions than current jets.
The goal, however, is quite bold and the executive of COMAC, a state-owned manufacturer that also produces the ARJ21 regional jet, did not explain how this will be achieved.
The C929 is a widebody similar in size to the Boeing 787 and should be equipped with PD-35 turbofans, supplied by Russia.
Economic sanctions on the country following the invasion of Ukraine in 2022, however, could make it difficult to produce the engine for export.
United Aircraft Corporation, the holding that owns the main Russian aerospace manufacturers, recently confirmed that it will no longer be a partner in the widebody program. However, he assured that he will continue to participate in the project in a smaller role.
COMAC’s chief designer also revealed work carried out on the ARJ21-700 to reduce its weight and thus improve its performance.
According to him, the weight of the aircraft was reduced by more than 600 kg due to the change in seats, which now weigh just 7 kg.
Wu Guanghui also commented on the importance of using Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), but did not make predictions about its adoption in the company’s aircraft.
Currently, COMAC equips its jets with GE CF34 (ARJ21) and CFM Leap-1C (C919) turbofans, but a local engine is under development with no certification deadline yet.