Who is Clipping Wings of Russian Aviation Industry?

Who is Clipping Wings of Russian Aviation Industry?

Photo: http://tass.ru/

It has been a long time since one might notice that some blunders made by the Russian officials suggest they live in a faraway land, conceived by their imagination. Recall the classic statement by former PM Medvedev: “There’s no money, but you hang in there!” or Deputy PM Golikova's “Pensioners help their children, and this means they live quite well.”

Apparently, these people live in a completely different reality. They do not see what they are supposed to see by virtue of the fact that they are well paid for it.

Seemingly, for example, Denis Manturov, the minister of industry and trade and the former sociologist, is chronically and uniquely inattentive. What is more, it seems that he has been like that from the very beginning of 2012 when he just took the office. At the moment, he practically blocked the start of mass production of Tupolev-334, a remarkable family of regional jets as well as the Russian-Ukrainian Antonov-148. He explained for his steps by claims that the demand for these machines was not enough. In his opinion, his decision was very justifiable because at that time, the upcoming debut of the Russian brand new super jets was expected. Their production was 80% targeted to foreign consumers. Today, the outcome of Manturov's hopes is well known to everyone. Even local companies are abandoning their “firsts” in every possible way. Meanwhile, Manturov managed to convince every expert in helicopter manufacturing, the industry which is prosperous in Russia, in the need for CKD assembly of foreign planes. In May 2016, he promised the delivery of much-needed Ilyuthin-114 regional turboprops in a year. In November, he solemnly announced the prompt sale of four Be-200ChS amphibian aircraft to China. Moreover, he added that he was already working with several countries on the issue of supplies of Be-200ChS aircraft. Namely, “... with Indonesia, Thailand, Portugal, Spain, and France.”

“The deliveries both in Europe and East Asia are highly likely,” Manturov said. As we know today, no airline has seen the Ilyushin-114 has seen yet. As for amphibian aircraft, the Chinese appreciated the high advantages of the Russian machine but have already started producing their own Jiaolong (Water Dragon) AG600. It is in no way inferior to our seaplane.

In addition to the aforesaid, Manturov has recently surprised everyone. He swore that the first model of the MS-21 medium-haul passenger jet would be handed at the end of next year over to the national flag carrier, Aeroflot, which would become its first and main operator. However, in order not to fall into the trap with “a super jet” again, he said cautiously: “The decision not to sell the MS-21 to foreigner clients was conscious. The MS-21 manufacturers don’t want to make the same mistakes.” So, who will believe him now?

However, Manturov’s very recent statement that the fall of the ruble was not posing a risk to companies, which did not depend on imports, became the climax of his “creative” flight of fancy. But for some reason, Manturov did not specify the companies are independent of imports, for instance, raw materials, equipment, packaging, technology, electronics, etc. Especially, these words seem to have struck the chord with Russian airlines, as their fleets almost entirely consist of foreign equipment, and its Bermuda or Irish leasing as well as buying spare parts and simulators makes their operations unprofitable. Some of the airlines' representatives could help wishing Manturov “to live on the same salary for the rest of his life -- better the one in rubles at the national average level.” Noteworthy, his declared income was 586.02 mln rubles ($7.6 mln) for the last year.

“We are extremely tired of fighting with flagrant incompetence in the segment of civil aviation,” said Oleg Smirnov, the former Deputy Minister of Civil Aviation of the USSR and the head of the Public Council for Civil Aviation of the Federal Transportation Inspection Service (Rostransnadzor.) “While our issues are solved by people who are far from understanding the industry and only hold degrees in law, sociology and finance, changes for the better are unlikely in this sector. They make it into the offices of top executives without any knowledge of mathematics or aerodynamics sometimes and confusing the front and back of an aircraft. For us, experts, it is especially offensive. It seems that there was light at the end of the tunnel. High hopes were set on the MS-21 that was really expected to compete with Airbus and Boeing. Neither of them would give up their share of the market so easily. For so long time we have relied on foreign components. At present, we are back to square one. We are being denied a composition material for the wing and supply of electronics by all the foreign companies. This happens despite the fact that domestic products that have been destroyed in recent years, were quite competitive. Namely, electronics that launch missiles, and supersonic civil transport. There were domestic composite materials. The secrets of their obtaining and producing became known to our competitors. As a result, we completely fell under their sway. At present, the MS-21 manufacturers are scratching their heads the deadlines of launch of the series are broken despite Manturov’s vivid optimism.

It is also necessary to ensure certificates for this aircraft – a procedure that will also take a lot of time. How is Manturov going to justify this situation? By blaming sanctions again? He’d better think about what Russia will do if the Western countries that do not help it anymore, will suddenly take extreme measures and deny their planes to it. Is Russia going to switch to dog sledding?

Here is the statement that was made by Vladimir Putin in one of his interviews at the very beginning of the century. It is cited almost letter for letter: “Our people have long been tired of the fact that the words of the government often do not meet the actions. You should not promise everything to everyone at once, and you should not turn into someone who just makes promises...”

If it was addressed to people, then we see what we see. And if to someone who just promise, why don’t they respond to it?

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