Greece to Cooperate on Aircraft Design

Greece will help Russia design a new passenger airplane that will carry as many as 220 people and compete with models produced by Airbus and Boeing, ministers from both countries said.

Hellenic Aerospace Industry, a state-owned Greek defense company, was to sign an agreement Wednesday with Russian aircraft manufacturer Irkut to design the MS-21, which Russia will start producing in 2014, Greek Development Minister Christos Folias and Industry Minister Viktor Khristenko told reporters in Athens.

The MS-21 is a line of passenger aircraft with 150, 180 and 220 seats, which the government hopes will compete with the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320.

"You can only undertake such a project when you know that you'll sell more than 1,000 units," Khristenko said, Prime-Tass reported. "And the real niche for this airplane is several times larger."

Hellenic Aerospace may increase its role in the MS-21 project after the design phase, the ministers said.

The two ministers also expressed interest in the delivery of a multipurpose amphibious vehicle, the Beriyev-200, to the Greek market.

The two countries also plan to cooperate in other industries such as drug making.

(Bloomberg, MT)