Jetliner model
© Reuters/Wu Jin
French firms are planning to take part in a Russian-Chinese project to build a wide-body long-haul passenger airplane, according to Bertrand de Lacombe, Director of International Cooperation at French Civil Aviation Authority.

"France is interested in participating in the project together with Russia and China," Lacombe told journalists on the sidelines of the Russian-French Council for Economic, Financial, Industrial and Trade Issues (CEFIC).

According to the official, French producers are ready to bid for a tender that is currently being set by Russian and Chinese manufacturers. Lacombe didn't specify precisely what kind of contribution to development and production French enterprises are ready to make. However, he stressed that they can provide a wide range of opportunities, including producing engines and other principal parts.

"We already expressed our interest towards the project at China's Zhuhai Air Show in November," Lacombу said. "They [Russian and Chinese partners] let us know that they are also interested in participation of French companies in this project."

Parties will cooperate in the project on a competitive basis if French suppliers meet economic and technical demands and are ready to work under sanctions, according to Ravil Khakimov, the head of the department of aviation sector at Russia's Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Khakimov added that producer of aircraft electronics Zodiac Aerospace, designer of electrical systems aerospace Thales Group and aircraft engine maker Safran are among the French enterprises that have showed willingness to compete in the tender so far. The latter has been cooperating with Russia's state-owned United Engine Corporation in making SaM-146 engines for the Sukhoi Superjet-100 (SSJ-100).

The CR929 jetliner is a jointly designed plane set to make its maiden flight in 2023. The aircraft is expected to compete with the Airbus A350 and the Boeing 787. Its prototype fuselage, which was demonstrated at China's largest airshow in Zhuhai, was 22 meters long, 6.5 meters tall and 5.9 meters wide.

The basic version CR929-600 is projected to carry 280 passengers over a distance of up to 12,000 kilometers (7,500 miles). The aircraft family will reportedly include a modification with an extended fuselage (CR929-700) and a shortened fuselage (CR929-500). The aircraft length will be 63.25 meters, with a wingspan of 58-61 meters and height of 17.9 meters.