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This is How Russia Wants to Save Its Aviation Sector

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DALLAS – At a cabinet meeting at the end of June, the Russian Minister of Industry and Trade announced that the country’s aviation sector was to produce around 1,000 brand-new passenger aircraft by the year 2030.

The figure likely includes both modern designs like the Irkut MC-21 and Sukhoi SSJ-100 as well as vintage aircraft like the Tu-204 and Il-96 from the Soviet era.

The objective is, of course, to replace imported Airbus, Boeing, or Embraer equipment with domestically produced parts.

The ambitious initiative demonstrates that the Kremlin thinks Russia will continue to be economically cut off from the West for a very long time. As part of their sanctions against Russia, the West banned the delivery of aircraft and spare parts, as well as maintenance services to the country, with Russian aviation severely affected as a result.

Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, airlines like Aeroflot (SU) and S7 primarily relied on aircraft and components made by the aforementioned Western manufacturers.

AW_John-Leivaditis-4-1024x683.jpgRussia Government RA-64057 Tupolev Tu-204-300. Photo: John Leivaditis/Airways

Russia to Resurrect a Further 11 Aircraft from Boneyards

In the meantime, Russia’s United Aircraft Company will make another 11 retired aircraft airworthy and deliver them to Russian airlines. According to aerotime.aero, Passenger carrier, Red Wings Airlines (WZ) and Volga-Dnepr Airlines (VI) and Aviastar-TU (4B), two cargo airlines, are set to get the planes.

One Antonov An-124, two Ilyushin Il-96-400Ts, and eight Tupolev Tu-204/214s will be restored, according to a report in the Russian newspaper Vedomosti, which added that the restoration would cost 15.4 billion rubles (US$267m) and be finished by 2024.

Companies with experience flying the same type of aircraft will lease the aircraft. WZ will lease the Tu-204/214 aircraft, VI will acquire the An-124, and 4B will get the Il-96 aircraft.

According to Russian media reports, UAC had already declared its plan to put back into service a number of Tu-204, Il-96, and An-148 aircraft in March 2022, thus launching the endeavor to repair a number of domestically produced aircraft that are currently not airworthy.

The project could act as a stopgap measure until the nation is able to increase domestic aircraft production.

What do you think of the Russian strategy to revive its aviation industry? Be sure to leave your comments on our social media channels.

Featured image: The Russian-made Sukhoi Superjet 100-95B is still flying with many parts from the West that are to be gradually replaced by Russian components. Sukhoi Design Bureau. Photo: Daniel Gorun/Airways

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