Russian, Chinese firms in multi-billion-dollar jet deal

MOSCOW (AFP) - Russian aerospace giant Sukhoi said Wednesday it had signed a preliminary deal to sell 100 jumbo jets to a group of Chinese firms worth an estimated US$3.3 billion (S$4.2 billion).

A Sukhoi spokesman told AFP the company had signed a memorandum on March 22 with a consortium of three Chinese aviation firms to supply 100 Superjet 100s.

The three Chinese firms involved are O-Bay Aircraft Co, China Taly Aviation and Shanghai Flying Dream Aviation, the spokesman said.

Chinese media reported earlier Wednesday that the "framework" agreement would see O-Bay Aircraft Co assemble the planes in China.

The government of the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou, where the potential facility could be located, said O-Bay would pay 20 billion yuan for 100 Superjets, according to a statement.

Sukhoi said in a statement that it "had an interest in entering the Chinese market and in the case of large orders we are ready to look at the possibility of cooperation, including in creating customisation centres and after-sales support." Talks on the deal will continue in May, Sukhoi said.

Sukhoi, which also builds military aircraft, puts the finishing touches on the Superjet 100 at a facility in Komsomolsk-on-Amur.