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Russia May Restrict Regional Flights To Domestic Aircraft

by Tatiana Smolenskaya,, Moscow

04 September 2012

The Russian government may shut out operators of foreign-made aircraft from competing in the domestic aviation market under proposals being considered to inject new life into the nation's aircraft manufacturing industry.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has recently said that the government should consider proposals to effectively block operators from using foreign aircraft on regional routes. Under the proposals, financial support, including subsidies, would be granted to domestic plane-manufacturing businesses, and the government would set up meetings with prospective route operators. Operators would have to commit to purchasing Russian-made aircraft, and provide manufacturers with a specification of what capacity, range and environmental efficiency an aircraft would need. Manufacturers would be required to develop and deliver an appropriate aircraft within the agreed deadline.

Following a number of fatal crashes involving the Antonov An-2 - an out-dated aircraft which entered into production in 1947 which has been used to connect cut-off areas of Russia - pressure has been mounting on the government to come up with a solution to modernize the domestic fleet of small aircraft. It is said that the government therefore seeks to develop a regional aircraft that could accommodate around 10 to 40 passengers.

Under separate proposals revealed in July, the government was said to be considering reducing trade tariffs on imports of regional aircraft to fill the void.

The only aircraft to have emerged from Russia in recent years has been the Superjet 100, manufactured by Sukhoi. The aircraft which targets the 75- to 95-seat category has received sustained criticism with doubts raised over safety and build quality. Last month, its launch customer Armavia confirmed that it is seeking to walk away from a second purchase of the Superjet 100, and Russian airline Aeroflot is seeking compensation for the number of repairs that have been needed to the ten aircraft it has so far received. .

TAGS: aviation

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