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MOSCOW, April 7. /TASS/. The project of developing a Russian-Chinese wide-body passenger plane estimated at no less than 80 billion rubles ($1.4 billion) remains a priority, even if it has received no budget financing for 2015, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on Tuesday.
"We’re not in any case revising it and it is within our sight and in our specific plans," Rogozin said in an interview with TASS news agency.
"We’re now determining a group of participants to develop this most technical project with a choice to be made between Ilyushin and Tupolev [aircraft design bureaus]. But generally, the technical outline of the plane is already known," the vice-premier said.
Loans from Russia’s national development bank Vnesheconombank (VEB) may be raised to finance the project, he said.
"We’ll finance expenditures related to the project. But these will not necessarily be budget money. We can take out loans from VEB, for example, as soon as we switch to this project’s practical implementation," Rogozin said.
"The most important thing for us is to determine the understanding of Chinese partners about this plane’s flying range. We should reach clear understanding by the end of the year about what we’re creating," the vice-premier said.
China needs an intermediate range of about 4,000-5,000 kilometers (2,485-3,100 miles) while Russia needs a long-range plane, Rogozin said.
"We don’t have such a large population and we don’t need a jumbo jet to carry a thousand people across the entire territory of Russia. The Chinese, on the contrary, need a large passenger but medium-haul plane. That is, we now need to find a consensus," the Russian vice-premier said.
Rogozin didn’t rule out that Russia might agree to the Chinese project or it would be tailored to Russian needs, for example, by installing other engines.
The Russian government planned to allocate 1.4 billion rubles ($24.5 million) from the federal budget and 2.5 billion rubles (about $44 million) from extra-budgetary sources for the Plane-2020 project in 2015.
However, a proposal was later made to stop the project's financing from the federal budget. At the same time, Russia’s United Aircraft Building Corporation announced in January 2015 about several purchases under the Plane-2020 project.
The plane, which is being developed on a parity financing basis with China’s aircraft-building industry, is expected to be built in 2021.