Legislation is in the pipeline to bring aircraft production plants in Kazan and Taganrog under Tupolev

A government-driven reorganisation of Russia's aircraft production plants is set to further consolidate the country's fragmented manufacturing industry.

The Russian government is preparing legislation to restructure the Kazan Aircraft Production Association (KAPO) in Tatarstan and the Tavia factory in Taganrog to bring them into the holding group of design bureau Tupolev, which already controls the Aviastar plant in Ulyanovsk. The integration process is expected to take until 2004 to complete.

KAPO produces the longer-range, increased-gross-weight version of the Tupolev Tu-204-100 twinjet, designated the Tu-214, and delivered the first example in May last year. The baseline Tu-204 is built by Aviastar, which also plans to build the extended-range version under the Tu-204-200 designation.

Tupolev says that, with the two plants effectively competing with each other, potential Tu-204/214 customers are playing one against the other to get the best deal. Having both factories under the group's umbrella is expected to eliminate this competition.

Tavia is involved in the production of Beriev amphibians and the Be-132MK regional turboprop, as well as the 100-seat Tupolev Tu-334 short-haul twinjet. Separate efforts are already under way to integrate the partners on the Tu-334 programme, for which Aviastar is manufacturing the horizontal stabiliser and noses.

Although the Tu-334 prototype has been in flight testing since February 1999, the programme has progressed slowly. However, funds have been secured from the Russian aerospace agency to pay for its systems and engines, and efforts are being made to complete the first production aircraft to enable it to join the test programme and to finish the certification process.

Tupolev chairman Igor Shevchuk says that once the Tu-334 programme is back on track, work will start in earnest on the Tu-330 airlifter for the Russian air force, which has placed an initial order.

Tupolev is to respond to the Russian minister of transport's recent tender for the supply of 200 regional aircraft with a bid based around the planned all-new 52-seat Tu-324 regional jet and a stretched 75-seat version, the Tu-414.

Source: Flight International