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Russia, China to Jointly Produce Long Range Passenger Jet

Russia and China are expected to complete the design of a new wide-body aircraft for long-distance flights by the end of the year, Deputy Premier Dmitry Rogozin told journalists Wednesday during his visit to the Irkutsk Aviation Plant.

By the next year the sides will be ready to begin discussing joint production of the new plane, Rogozin said, Interfax reported.

"The development of the new plane's design should be finished by the end of 2013," he said.

Rogozin said that Russia alone would not be able to accomplish a project to manufacture a new plane in large numbers given an "obviously" high demand for it in both countries and that the country needed a reliable partner such as China to share the project's financing.

He added that in recent years the domestic market for long-range passenger airplanes has been lost, as 80 percent of the combined fleet of long-range passenger airplanes in Russia is made up of aircraft manufactured by Boeing or Airbus.

"I believe it is inexcusable and has to be redressed urgently," Rogozin said.

The project to develop a joint wide-body passenger airplane was launched in 2012 by the state-owned United Aircraft Corporation and Chinese aircraft manufacturer Comac. The new plane's design will be developed by the Ilyushin design bureau, Rogozin said.

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