In May, the Chinese and Russian governments announced a joint venture (JV) to build a new, clean-sheet twin-aisle jetliner. The twinjet will be intended to carry 280 passengers up to 7,500 nm, competing with Airbus’s A350-900 and Boeing’s 787-9. Like those aircraft, the new C929, as it has been called, is expected to include composites for about 50% of its airframe. It is tempting to think of this new concept as a game-changer. After all, Russia has deep aerospace engineering ...

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