Russian commission to evaluate business case for Tu-204SM

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Members of a Russian Government commission are to evaluate the viability of the Tupolev Tu-204SM serial production programme.

United Aicraft says the commission will comprise senior officials from the ministries of industry, transportation and economic development, as well as its own representatives.

It will work under Government auspices and assume decision-making authority over all issues related to the Tu-204SM project.

Industry ministry aviation department chief Yuri Slyusar has been appointed as the commission's chairman. He says: "Our agenda is to co-ordinate support for the development and production of new domestic aircraft. This includes subsidies for manufacturers, airlines and lessors.

"Carrying out such measures should help preserve technical competence and skilled workforce until the [Sukhoi] Superjet 100 and [Irkut] MS-21 programmes gain momentum."

Tupolev's efforts to launch serial manufacture of the modernised Tu-204SM twin-jet appear to be lacking support from within parent company United Aircraft.

Chiefs of United Aircraft's constituent firms, including Tupolev, Sukhoi and Irkut, discussed the matter last week during a meeting to correlate their investment requirements and civil programmes.

While Sukhoi put forward a progress report on the Superjet 100, Irkut, which steers the MS-21 development work, presented production cost evaluation of the Tu-204SM on a per-unit basis.

Citing in-house analysts, Irkut chief Oleg Demchenko says the programme will be loss-making despite a 10% discount on components that Tupolev had reportedly agreed with suppliers. He is cited by participants at the meeting as saying that a decision is needed on "whether it is worthwhile for the state to support this programme".