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Russian, Italian companies sign agreement on regional jet

MOSCOW, June 20 (RIA Novosti)-One of Russia's leading aircraft makers signed Tuesday an agreement with three Italian companies on strategic cooperation in building and marketing the Russian Regional Jet.

Representatives of Sukhoi and Italy's Finmeccanica, as well as their subsidiaries Sukhoi Civil Aviation and Alenia Aeronautica, signed the document in the presence of President Vladimir Putin and Italy's new prime minister, Romano Prodi.

"Signing the agreement is a significant step in the development of long-term strategic partnership between the two companies, a move to unite intellectual and management resources for a new proposal on the market and to share their benefits and risks under the program," a spokesman for the Russian company said.

The RRJ project is a family of medium-range passenger aircraft developed by Sukhoi in cooperation with major American and European aviation corporations, including Boeing, Snecma, Thales, Messier Dowty, Liebherr Aerospace and Honeywell.

Sukhoi plans to produce at least 700 RRJs, and intends to sell 35% of them to North America, 25% to Europe, 10% to Latin America, and 7% to Russia and China.

The RRJ market is estimated at 5,400-5,600 units until 2023 and valued at $100 billion.

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