The not so subtle intersection of Russian aircraft and politics

In the same week as controversy stirred over President Nicolas Sarkozy purchasing an A330 for his presidential transport, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin decided a different path to cultivate his nation’s goal of re-growing its domestic commercial aircraft production.
Civil aircraft manufacturing and national economic interests have a great historical tendency to intersect in ways that vary in their subtlety. That being said, I’ll let you be the judge on which end of the subtlety spectrum this falls:
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian flagship airline Aeroflot
expects to acquire 22 Boeing Dreamliners and 22 Airbus A350s by 2016 as it expands its fleet, CEO Vitaly Savelyev told Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. “We expect to receive 22 Dreamliners, that is the Boeing-787s, by 2016, and we also expect 22 aircraft of the Airbus-350 model, which is currently being developed, to enter into service,” Savelyev said according to RIA news agency. However, Putin urged the executive to purchase more locally-made planes. “We are already purchasing them,” Savelyev said in a portion of the interview broadcast on Russia-24 television. “Not enough,” the prime minister replied.

A Bloomberg Businessweek article on the same topic expanded on Putin’s comments:

“I want to understand how much domestic technology Aeroflot will buy,” Putin said in a meeting with Chief Executive Officer Vitaly Savelyev today. “You want to dominate the domestic market, but you don’t want to buy Russian technology. That won’t do.”

Let’s see how far the 162-passenger, Pratt & Whitney PW1000G-powered Irkut MS-21 is from finding its domestic launch customer. A meeting like this has but one outcome: 

Savelyev said he would report back to Putin with a revised plan.

8 Responses to The not so subtle intersection of Russian aircraft and politics

  1. Axel July 11, 2010 at 5:19 am #

    I would like to see the miracle, when an US president would choose a non American aircraft as Air Force One.

    So I don’t understand the mention of the French A330 in context with the silly interventions of Putin.

  2. Tricia Brumbach July 11, 2010 at 8:08 pm #


  3. ken July 12, 2010 at 12:33 am #

    Axel….honestly that would be a sad day for the USA. It would be a shame, that would be like the president of France buzzing around in an 747….would be an embarassment.

  4. SomeoneInToulouse July 12, 2010 at 4:38 am #

    Ken; isn’t that Axel’s point? Since the article insinuates it’s somehow improper for a head of state to fly an aircraft representing the domestic aerospace industry, yet the last place on Earth you would expect that not to be the case is the US.

    That’s one huge heap of hypocrisy right there… :-)

  5. snogglethorpe July 12, 2010 at 6:04 am #

    I’ll bet what Sarkozy really wanted was an A380 though…

  6. iamlucky13 July 12, 2010 at 3:52 pm #

    It’s amusing that forgoing champagne at a business meeting is considered “austere.” For most of us, anything more than coffee is living large. That said, it’s not unreasonable to make a case for maintaining a dedicated and reliable executive jet for a person (and his staff) whose decisions affect 65 million people. The reward of the luxury and the symbolic representation of the nation, in my opinion, are secondary to maximizing his ability to do his job under all circumstances.

    That said, Putin’s comments are the more interesting topic to me. Surely he’s not ignorant of the lack of anything comparable to the 787 or A350 made in Russia. It’s not a knock against the Il-96 that more advanced aircraft have been introduced since it entered service. Does he want to sacrifice Aeroflot’s ability to compete in order to look good politically in the short term?

  7. Alex July 15, 2010 at 7:19 am #

    >>Does he want to sacrifice Aeroflot’s ability to compete in order to look good politically in the short term?
    sure. Moreover, all things he does are for looking good at the moment.

    Aeroflot was obliged to buy planes “SSJ” (suhoy super jet) but producer do not harry to supply them. Moreover, SSJ is rather french than russian. And prof found out some problems with its engines.

    Government do not want to let produce TU-200 (don’t ask me why – I don’t know – there is no any reasons).

    So there is no strange that Aeroflot wants to buy non-russians aircrafts.

  8. Pret Cartus Mita Tkkm04 Compatibil December 20, 2010 at 4:05 am #

    I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crises. The great point is to bring them the real facts.