China designing new widebody C939 jet to rival Airbus and Boeing

It's shaking up the long-haul market
  •  COMAC is developing the C939,
  • It will seat up to 400 passengers
  • It will rival. the Airbus A350 and Boeing 777

Published on May 14, 2024 at 8:35PM (UTC+4)

Last updated on May 16, 2024 at 11:10AM (UTC+4)

Bearbeitet von Tom Wood

The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, aka COMAC, is working on the C939, which is a 400-passenger jet set to cause turbulence in the world of long-haul aviation.

The widebody COMAC C939 will join the ARJ21 – an ‘Advanced Regional Jet’ – and narrowbody C919 in its aircraft lineup.

The twin-engine aircraft will be capable of covering intercontinental distances.

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COMAC aims to compete with the Airbus A350 and Boeing 777.

The pair currently have a duopoly in large commercial aircraft. 

The plan is for COMAC to elbow its way in and increase its share in the long-haul aircraft market.

There’s still a long way to go, however, as despite having ‘sketched out preliminary designs’, there is no prototype, as yet.

For a seat at the mile-high, long-haul table, the C939 would need to seat 400 passengers and have a range of 7,000 NM (13,000 kilometers).

A second widebody Chinese plane is also in development: the C929.

Originally planned as a joint project between Russia and China, its name was previously CR929.

However, Yury Slyusar, the CEO of Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), confirmed last year that the company would take a step back from being a partner in the CR929 program to simply a supplier.

This aircraft would compete with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner -which was recently seen landing in Antarctica for the first time – and Airbus A330ne – again in capacity and range.

It would seat 290 passengers.

Meanwhile, the C919 seats just over 190, but a larger C949 is yet to be confirmed.

However, the Asian aircraft manufacturer may well have bitten off more than they can chew.

Their current aircraft backlog outweighs their actual production capacity by some distance.

An investment in production capacity will be needed to generate aircraft at a scale that rivals their competitors at Boeing and Airbus.

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