Russian civil aerospace executives might remember last week’s Moscow Air Show (MAKS ’13) at Zhukovsky Air Field outside the Russian capital as the start of their industry’s ascent toward global relevance.
Economy of Russia
Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, took what executives describe as an historic first step into aircraft leasing last week as it ordered 12 Boeing 737-800s. Expected to spur further financing and leasing of imported aircraft in Russia, the transaction calls for the bank’s Sberbank Leasing subsidiary to place the airplanes with Moscow-based Transaero Airlines.
Citing design issues, on February 11 Russia’s Rosaviatsia aviation authority ordered Aeroflot to ground four of its 10 Superjet 100 airliners. Manufacturer Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Co. said the issues related to a service bulletin about aircraft slats and landing gear. On February 15, Sukhoi announced that all four aircraft had been cleared to resume operations.
Despite realignment, increased government investment and the appearance of political resolve, the Russian airliner industry has achieved little success in expanding its civil production over the past four years. Although it has nearly doubled its delivery total, from 11 jetliners in 2009, to 10 in 2010, 18 in 2011 and 19 in 2012, the industry’s hopes to launch a challenge to the Western world’s manufacturing powers remain unfulfilled and distant.
Indonesian aviation authorities have found that human factors and a series of small technical problems involving air traffic control led to the crash of Sukhoi Superjet 100 S/N 95004 on May 9 near Jakarta, killing 45 people. Investigators concluded that the cockpit crew of the ill-fated demonstration flight, unaware of the mountainous area surrounding their flight path, disregarded an alert from the airplane’s terrain awareness and warning system (Taws).
A little more than a month after suffering a fatal accident involving a demonstration airplane, the Sukhoi Superjet program staged a fairly quick rebound with the sale of six SSJ100-95s to Russia’s second largest airline, Transaero. Announced in late June, the deal includes options on another 10 airplanes, raising the potential value to $566.4 million based on list prices.
Russian manufacturer Irkut is studying airborne radar candidates for its Yak-130 combat trainer. Konstantin Popovich, Irkut v-p and head of the Yakovlev Engineering Center, announced at a Farnborough International airshow briefing yesterday that three radar options are being considered, from three designers–Phazotron, Ramenskoe-based NIIP and St. Petersburg-based Leninets.
Irkut’s business plan for its MC-21 narrowbody jetliner calls for a total of 1,200 aircraft to be produced, including 257 delivered by 2022, of which 30 percent would be for the Russian domestic market. As of May, Irkut had garnered orders and commitments for 190 airplanes.
Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (SCAC) plans to develop a stretched version of the recently certified Superjet 100 designed to seat 130 passengers. The airplane is dubbed the Superjet 130NG, and Sukhoi estimates its development costs will total $1 billion.
Questions have arisen over Aeroflot’s decision to sell its 51-percent stake in regional subsidiary Saratov Airlines (SarAvia) due to what it called “discrepancies in Aeroflot group development strategy and the local status of this airline.”