Tue, 28 Nov 2023

MOSCOW, Russia: Russia's state-owned engineering firm Rostec has said that the country's aviation industry will continue operating without the West, by ending its reliance on Boeing and Airbus and using locally manufactured parts to assemble 1,000 airliners by 2030.

The statement by Rostec, a large corporation that includes Russia's only manufacturer of civil aircraft, is the sign of a potentially permanent break by the country's aviation sector from the West.

In response to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, western sanctions, the most severe in modern history, have forced the largest change on Russia's economy since the end of the Soviet Union from 1989 to 1991.

As foreign aircraft, mainly from Boeing and Airbus, account for 95 percent of flights by Russian airlines, the sanctions have led to a lack of spare parts.

In August, Reuters reported that Russian airlines, including state carrier Aeroflot, were stripping jetliners to secure spare parts.

Rostec, headed by Sergei Chemezov, a close ally of President Valdimir Putin, considers the situation to be an opportunity to create a self-reliant local aviation industry.

In a statement to Reuters, Rostec said, "Foreign aircraft will drop out of the fleet. We believe that this process is irreversible and Boeing and Airbus planes will never be delivered to Russia."

However, aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia, managing director of U.S.-based AeroDynamic Advisory, said the target of building 1,000 airliners by 2030 is "basically impossible," as quoted by Reuters.

"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 added.

According to the Russian government's aviation industry's development plan to 2030, published in June, Russia plans to produce 20 fully import-substituted regional jets, known as "Superjet-New," per year from 2024, as well as 72 new medium-haul MS-21 from 2029.

"We do not expect sanctions to be eased and we are building our plans based on the existing tough scenario," Rostec said.

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