Partnership in developing a long-range passenger aircraft will cost Russia and China $7-8 billion, Russian Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce Yury Slyusar said on Friday.

The project required “critical essential technologies”, he said, adding that competent third countries could join the partnership.

Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) and the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) signed a memo in Shanghai in May to create a wide-body, long-range aircraft to challenge US and European rivals in the skies.

Plans go forward to a next stage determining how the aircraft’s main systems will be developed, assessing target markets and the best way each partner can contribute. Feasibility studies will be presented in the summer.

UAC president Mikhail Pogosyan said the founding partners expected to take up to 10% of the wide-body aircraft market by 2032. The total market was about 8,000 jets and the companies expected to claim a niche of from 600 to 800 planes, calculated on market forecasts until 2020, Pogosyan said.

Announcing investment volumes would be premature, he said, disclosing that total costs would equal those of Boeing and Airbus programs.