Russia and China are set to sign an agreement to co-develop a wide-bodied airliner by the end of 2015, China Daily reported Monday. The deal, apparently long in the works, would bring together two state-run aircraft companies in an attempt to take on Europe's Airbus and the United States' Boeing.
The deal with China's Commercial Aircraft Corp., or Comac, which would outline initial profit sharing and responsibilities, was scheduled to be signed by the end of the year. Further details would be decided upon by March of next year, said Yury Slyusar, president of Russia's state-controlled United Aircraft Corporation, according to the report from China Daily.
"So far, the project has proceeded well, and we plan to determine the technical requirements, specifications and outsourcing methods in March," Slyusar said, according to China Daily.
United Aircraft Corporation and Comac have been working on the joint development deal since May 2014, Reuters reported. Russia had been gauging interest in developing a wide-body airliner with China since 2012, but Comac initially expressed a lack of interest.
The two parties were expected to come to a decision on the long-suggested development deal by this month. The goal would be to have aircrafts flying by the year 2025.
"We would like to develop, certify and produce the first aircraft within ten years, so by 2025 we should begin deliveries," Slyusar told reporters at the June Paris Air Show, according to Reuters. “The level of the Chinese industry that we're seeing leads us to believe that it will be a very innovative aircraft.”
While the Soviet Union produced wide-body airliners and China has worked on developing smaller planes, the planned jet would be a completely new endeavor. "The aircraft has to be developed from scratch," Slyusar said to Reuters in June. The planned plane would be able carry 210 to 350 passengers and would cost the countries about $13 billion to develop, China Daily reported.
The project would allow the state-run companies in China and Russia to take aim at giants Airbus and Boeing, which function as a duopoly in the market for wide-body airliners.