Russia and China are supposed to complete the development of a design for a new wide-body, long-haul aircraft by the end of this year, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin told reporters during a visit to the Irkutsk aviation hub on Wednesday.
"By the end of this year we should have a high degree of readiness to already have a conversation with manufacturers. The development of the design for this aircraft should be completed by the end of 2013. The business plan is now being prepared," Rogozin said.
He said that for Russia and China the need for such an aircraft is "completely obvious." However, Russia could "not manage" large-scale serial production of such an aircraft on its own.
"We need a partner who has a lot of people and time zones. In principle, this is China, which has ambitions to acquire the necessary competencies through joint production with us. And we need their investment so as to not put all the costs on the shoulders of our taxpayers," Rogozin said.
"It is very unfortunate that in recent years the national air travel market, including long-distance, has been lost: 80 percent of the aircraft fleet on long distances is Boeing and Airbus. I believe this is unforgivable and needs to be urgently corrected," Rogozin said.
United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) held negotiations with Chinese aircraft maker Comac in 2012 concerning the feasibility of a joint project to develop a wide-body airliner.
Rogozin said last December that the "project to develop a wide-body plane with the participation of Russia and China has been given real direction." He said the relevant institutions had been instructed to begin substantive negotiations. The Ilyushin Design Bureau will probably work on the project on the Russian side.
Russia has the necessary technologies, but such an aircraft would need access to foreign markets. "Such an airplane would be needed only if it was simultaneously used on such markets as China," Rogozin said.
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