PARIS, June 21 (Xinhua) -- Chinese aircraft manufacturer Comac and Irish airline Ryanair inked an agreement here Tuesday to cooperate in the development of China's large passenger aircraft, the C919.
Jin Zhuanglong, general manager of Comac, or Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd., and Michael O'Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, the biggest European discount carrier, signed the memorandum of understanding in Comac's newly opened European office in Paris.
According to the deal, the two companies will work together in research and development, airworthiness and customer services on the C919 project, which aims to test-fly the airliner in 2014.
O'Leary said at the signing ceremony that Ryanair had paid great attention to the C919 program and he had strong confidence in the collaboration between the two sides.
Jin said he expected the agreement to be "a starting point" that would lead the two companies to broader cooperation and a close, long-term strategic partnership.
He said Comac had so far signed agreements with 17 companies in the United States and Europe on the C919 program.
Ryanair, based in Dublin, runs some 1200 routes with about 300 aircraft. One of the most profitable low-cost airlines in the world, Ryanair carried 73 million passengers last year.
Established in May 2008, Shanghai-based Comac has rolled out a smaller regional jet, the ARJ21.