More details are emerging about the state-owned Chinese companies that will have risk-sharing roles in the country's planned large aircraft programme.

China has for some time been aiming to build aircraft seating at least 150 passengers to challenge Airbus and Boeing and until now only state-run manufacturers AVIC I and AVIC II were identified as likely shareholders, along with the state-owned assets and administration commission.

But now official media reports say several more state-owned companies will have equity stakes, including metal producers Baosteel and Aluminium Corp of China.

In addition, the official Xinhua news agency's Shanghai Securities News says local governments, including the municipality of the country's commercial centre Shanghai, will have equity in the programme. These local governments alone may inject 5 billion yuan ($694 million) into the programme company.

The reports stress that the final list of shareholders has yet to be determined. A programme company is due to be formally established in March.

AVIC I and AVIC II are expected to take leading roles in the programme and their financial involvement is likely to come by providing manufacturing assets, rather than cash, according to the official reports.

The manufacturing groups have meanwhile been discussing the possible merger of all or part of their civilian aircraft businesses and the results of this assessment could determine how big a percentage stake they have in the new large-aircraft programme.

Early last year the state council, which is China's highest administrative body, approved in principle the formation of a new company to build large jet aircraft with a take-off weight of at least 100t and seating at least 150 passengers. The target for entry into service is around 2020.

There have been suggestions the aircraft may be named China Star but this has not been confirmed.

Source: Flight International