Russia's United Aircraft is keen on pursuing development of a new long-haul aircraft to address a vacant sector in its civil programmes.
President Mikhail Pogosyan says the organisation, which oversees development of the Sukhoi Superjet 100 and Irkut MS-21, is "thinking of a widebody jet" to complement them.
Russian industry has not offered a long-haul type since the Ilyushin Il-96 and preliminary planning for a successor follows initial high-level discussions with China over possible co-operation.
"We see quite clearly that passenger traffic growth is rapid," says Pogosyan. "We think we have to offer to the market a wide selection - two products are not enough. I believe we have to think of further developments."
He cautions that "plunging into details" would be "premature", as the aerospace company still needs to "define the technologies for a product to offer to the market".
"We're not intending to make a copy of any existing aircraft," he stresses, pointing out that the Superjet and the MS-21 have no equivalent.
"In our research for a possible widebody, it won't be a copy of Western types," he says. "It will have a mix of critical technology offered to be competitive."
Despite the Chinese visit by Russian president Vladimir Putin, Pogosyan insists that United Aircraft is "wide open" to other international opportunities.
"We want to deal with partners who are interested in co-operation," he says.
United Aircraft is trying to reduce the dominance of military revenues on its balance sheet, and raise the contribution of commercial aviation from 10% this year to 27% by 2014.
Pogosyan accepts that United Aircraft will face intense competitive pressure from Airbus and Boeing, but says such difficulties are not simply a hangover from the Soviet era.
"In a modern, globalised world, if you looking to enter the market the challenge is very high - no matter to what country you belong," he says.
"But we have a number of pluses compared with others. Our experience in integrating on-board structures, and our engineering competence, are very high."
He says the Superjet was a "pioneering project" which required integrating several internationally-sourced systems.
Pogosyan adds that the "queue" for Boeing and Airbus jets stretches for years, and smaller carriers are "not prepared to wait so long".
"Not all of these carriers want to operate from the secondary market. They want new aircraft," he adds. "That's why we think, if we can offer competitive products, we have the prospect of entering the market."
While stopping short of saying that less-viable programmes might face the axe, Pogosyan insists that United Aircraft will "orient discussions" around commercial profitability and "reduce production" of non-profitable programmes while boosting production of those which are generating income.
Although the Tupolev Tu-204SM has struggled to attract airline customers, Pogosyan says the company sees the type as a "platform for special purpose" - with a role as a governmental jet rather than a commercial aircraft. He points out that it would be "convenient" for the country's ministry of defence, which uses the Tupolev Tu-154, to operate a Russian type.
Pogosyan says that, when he was heading Sukhoi, he was asked whether he genuinely believed the Russian industry could emerge as a new, competitive force.
"I said I believed in that," he states. "I don't take up any target in which I don't strongly believe."