RUSSIA: Russia’s aviation industry has decided to make it big in the market by venturing out alone without Western aid, using locally built hardware parts to produce 1,000 airliners by 2030 and end a reliance on Boeing and Airbus, state-owned engineer Rostec said.
The remarks are from Rostec, a vast state corporation headed by a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, that includes Russia’s only manufacturer of civil aircraft.
Rostec’s new plans of going solo are a strong indication that the country’s aviation sector sees the confrontation with the West as a permanent rift.
The West’s harsh sanctions on Moscow following president Putin’s “special military operation” in Ukraine, have left Moscow reeling under the pressure of an economic slowdown seen last in the years between 1989 to 1991 when the Soviet Union crumbled.
The post-Soviet assumptions of the aviation sector have been turned on their head: foreign aircraft, mainly from Boeing and Airbus, account for 95% of passenger traffic, but sanctions mean there are no spare parts – and no prospect of any.
Reuters reported in August that Russian airlines, including state-controlled Aeroflot, were stripping jetliners to secure spare parts they can no longer buy abroad because of Western sanctions.
But Rostec, headed by Sergei Chemezov who worked with Putin in East Germany in the 1980s, sees the upheaval as a golden opportunity for Russia to break away from Western reliance and build a strong, self-reliant aviation industry.
“Foreign aircraft will drop out of the fleet,” Rostec said in a written response to Reuters questions about its plans and the situation in Russia’s aviation industry.
“We believe that this process is irreversible and Boeing and Airbus planes will never be delivered to Russia,” it said.
Rostec has run some of Russia’s top industrial, defence and engineering assets since Putin signed a decree creating the corporation in 2007.
Russian airlines, including Aeroflot, spent a huge deal on Boeing and Airbus aircraft as they sought to rebuild a broken industry after the chaos of the 1990s. At present, forging a new alliance for a sustainable alternative will be challenging.
According to aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia, the managing director of U.S.-based AeroDynamic Advisory, the target of building 1,000 airlines by 2030 is “basically impossible”.
“Even when they could get semiconductors and other vital components from the West, they were having a very hard time producing more than a handful of jets,” he said.
Half of the components and technologies used in the Russian aircraft industry in 2021 originated from foreign countries and were heavily reliant on the West.
According to a document titled, “On the Strategic Directions of Activity in the New Conditions for the Period up to 2030″ prepared by the government and seen by Reuters.
Rostec will have to find parts or make them themselves.
“Our next goal is, in the shortest time, to complete import substitution of those imported parts which were delivered from abroad, for promising aviation projects – SSJ-New and MS-21,” Rostec said.