PARIS Talks between French plane-maker Dassault Aviation (AVMD.PA) and India over a $15 billion Rafale fighter contract are continuing, Dassault's chief executive said, adding he was "relatively optimistic".
India selected the Rafale to enter exclusive negotiations for a potential 126-plane order in late January, beating the competing Eurofighter Typhoon EAD.PA (SIFI.MI) (BAES.L) and lifting hopes for a sale that would boost French pride and restore the luster of its aviation industry.
"We are deep in talks at the moment. It's a complicated country, the negotiations are tough, but there is a desire to wrap up on both sides," CEO Charles Edelstenne told a parliamentary hearing on Tuesday.
"I'm relatively optimistic."
Edelstenne also said that growing public speculation over a change at the top for subsidiary Thales (TCFP.PA) - which he described as an "eventual change in governance" - was having an impact on talks with clients and making them more difficult.
(Reporting by Cyril Altmeyer; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)