French aerostructures and thrust reverser manufacturer Hurel-Dubois has signed a risk-sharing participation agreement for a stake in Airbus's proposed A3XX ultra-large airliner.

The framework agreement is for participation of up to 2% of the estimated $12 billion development cost of the 555-656-seat aircraft.

It puts Hurel-Dubois in position to take on the development and production of aerostructures and engine nacelle systems on the A3XX, which is due in service in 2005, assuming a go-ahead decision is taken this year.

The Asia-Pacific region, with its passenger loads on the rise again after the financial unrest of the past two years, is likely to be the largest single market for the airliner.

Hurel-Dubois took the decision to become a risk-sharing participant in the project as part of its long-term strategy of involvement in key aircraft programmes in the coming century from business jets to long-range widebody aircraft, says Francis Avanzi, the company's chairman and chief executive officer.

Source: Flight Daily News