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In about three years, according to current plans, Russia and China will each begin delivering a national narrowbody airliner, the Irkut MS-21 and Comac C919, respectively. And 6-8 years later, they may have a jointly developed widebody ready for service.
These plans are maturing as Comac continues to struggle with the C919. Challenged in obtaining FAA endorsement of the C919's intended Chinese certification, the manufacturer is raising the possibility of alternative approval from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
A feasibility study for the widebody will be finished within a few months, after which the program will be ready for launch, Mikhail Pogosyan, president of Irkut owner United Aircraft Corp. (UAC), tells Aviation Week. The target for entry into service is 2023-25. “The long-range widebody aircraft segment is quite interesting for us,” Pogosyan says. “But we should study the market very closely and define clearly the level of technology we need . . . to enter a very competitive market with a product that provides qualitatively new solutions.”