Siberian carriers Yakutia and Alrosa have emerged as potential first recipients of Bombardier Q400 turboprops to be built under licence in Russia.
The project is steered by state corporation Rostec and envisages Q400 assembly within the framework of a joint venture with Bombardier.
Speaking in Yakutsk, Rostec director of aviation programmes Alexei Fedorov reveals that 20 Russian airlines – as well as one carrier from Belarus and one from Kazakhstan – have expressed interest in acquiring locally built Q400s.
“But we believe Yakutia and Alrosa will become our launch customers,” he says. “In fact, we had them in mind when we discussed this venture with Bombardier.”
The airframer and Rostec have already worked out the logistics, says Fedorov. He adds that Rostec is making preparations for the construction of seven Q400s this year.
“Localising production at the Ulyanovsk special economic zone will allow us to exempt these aircraft from customs duty and benefit from local tax concessions,” he says.
“Our domestic customers will be also able to achieve savings due to the government programme of subsidising operators which provide regional services.”
Initially, the Ulyanovsk-based plant will assemble the Q400 wholly from kits supplied by Bombardier. But Fedorov says the production of particular components could be outsourced to Russian manufacturers eventually.
Yakutia's turboprop fleet already has three leased Q400s. Last year, the carrier became the first in the country to use the type following its approval by local authorities in 2012.