Proposed consolidation will set up ‘single entity’ and focus on developing two airliners
Russia’s civil aircraft industry will focus on the development of two airliner types – the Sukhoi Russian Regional Jet (RRJ) and the MS-21 narrowbody – following the consolidation of the industry into a single entity.
Details of the plan have been outlined by Valery Bezverkhny, who is senior vice-president of the Irkut plant and chairman of the consolidated group – dubbed “NP OAK”, which is the Russian acronym for “United Aviation Corporation”. The signing of a decree by Russian president Vladimir Putin to start the process of establishing the merger is believed to be imminent.
The new aviation corporation will concentrate on the RRJ (above) and the MS-21 narrowbody
“All preparatory work is completed, the company is to be formally established in September,” says Bezverkhny. “By that time we will have to complete all legal work on assessment of the assets of all 19 companies that are being merged.”
In the initial period between 2008 and 2012, OAK’s main products will be the RRJ and MS-21, says Bezverkhny. “These two products will enable the Russian industry to revive its fortunes in civil aviation.” He adds that a plan for Russia to exit widebody production will soon be “officially declared”, although he concedes that OAK is evaluating Ilyushin’s proposed twin-engined Il-96, the Il-98. “We would agree and commit to this if there is evidence of a sufficient client base,” he says.
The 130- to 170-seat MS-21 twinjet family is an all-new design intended to meet the local carriers’ needs for a new-generation aircraft in the Airbus A320/Boeing 737 category. In the meantime, Bezverkhny says that it is “very likely” that OAK will introduce “an improved Tu-204” developed partly using state funding to provide its major production over the next five to six years before the new designs are available.
VLADIMIR KARNOZOV / MOSCOW