Are Airbus and Boeing the Only Household Names in the Aviation Industry?

Airbus and Boeing prevail possessing a vast noteworthiness in the competitive airline manufacturing industry around the globe.

The duopoly owns the sky by composing 99% of global massive plane orders and those vast plane orders make up more than 90% of the total plane demand according to the Teal Group, an aerospace market analysis company. regional jet manufacturers only account for 7% of the airplane market value.

However, Russia and China are also an important hub for aircraft manufacturing with several well-established firms present there. But how do the jetliners compete with big giants named Airbus and Boeing?

Who are the key Russian players?

The majority of Russia’s aircraft manufacturers are grouped under the umbrella of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC). The UAC was founded in February 2006 as part of a Presidential Decree by Vladimir Putin. It was hoped that, by grouping the companies, they would help to collectively minimize their losses while also optimizing aircraft production.

Several significant manufacturers of commercial aircraft find themselves under the UAC umbrella. Here, we shall explore some aircrafts such as Ilyushin, Sukhoi, and Tupolev.



The Ilyushin Il-96 is a wide-body long-haul aircraft, having advanced technology developed by the Soviet Union which is the first widebody airliner. Its features are supercritical wings fitted with winglets, a glass cockpit, and a fly-by-wire control system. The basic Il-96-300 is equipped with modern Russian avionics integrating six multi-functional color LCD displays, an inertial navigation system (INS), satellite navigation systems, and a Traffic Avoidance Collision System. It allows the airplane to be operated with two crew members. The avionics correspond to modern requirements on international routes in Europe and North America (RNP-1) and as well as allow navigation and landing under ICAO CAT III/A weather minima. The Il-96 is offered in three main variants: the Il-96-300, Il-96M/T, and Il-96-400.

The Il-96M is similar in capacity (307 vs 305) and length (64.7 m vs 63.7 m) to the Boeing 777-200. Its 12,800 km (6,907 NM) range outranks the 777-200 in terms of range, although not in the case of the ER (13,080 km / 7,065 NM) and LR (14,075 km / 7,600 NM) versions. 


The JSCSukhoi Company was a major Soviet and now a Russian aircraft manufacturer, headquartered in Begovoy District, Northern Administrative Okrug,  Moscow. It designs both civilian and military aircraft. (SU 30, illustrated below)


Tupolev’s present flagship is its single-aisle Tu-204 design. The company was previously known for developing the supersonic Tu-144, which briefly rivaled the Concorde. The Tu-204, which entered service in 1996, is similar to the Airbus A321 and Boeing 757.


The Tu-204 is part of a new generation of Russian aircraft, including other recent developments such as the Ilyushin II-96. The Tu-204 is technologically equipped with fly-by-wire control systems, a glass cockpit, and supercritical wings with winglets, and is available with Russian or foreign avionics. The wings and tails are relatively resistant to ice formation, where anti-icing systems are not equipped. Among today’s airliners, the Tu-204 is the only one that does not require wing anti-icing systems. During the test flight, safety has been confirmed without the anti-icing system on the bearing surfaces and the aircraft has been certified by both Russian and European aviation authorities.


There are also aircraft currently in development in Russia that may prove to provide greater challenges to Airbus and Boeing in markets they have previously dominated. For example, IRKUT hopes to rival the A320 NEO and B737 MAX families with its MC-21.


The Comac C919 is a narrow-body airliner developed by Chinese aircraft manufacturer COMAC. The development program was launched in 2008. Production of the prototype began in December 2011, with the first prototype being ready on 2 November 2015 and its maiden flight on 5 May 2017. The first commercial deliveries of these aircraft are expected in 2022 to China Eastern Airlines.

It is intended to compete primarily with the Boeing 737 MAX and Airbus A320 NEO.

Russia has also teamed up with China in an attempt to produce an aircraft that will penetrate the long-haul market. Known as the CRAIC CR929, this project will see China’s COMAC and the UAC join forces in an attempt to challenge the likes of the A330 NEO and Boeing 787.


COVER PIC COURTESY: Uploaded by 10SlideInfo, Jun 15, 2020

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