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EastRussia Bulletin: Friday exclusive - aircraft industry

The traditional exclusive industry analytical review of the EastRussia bulletin - this time on the Far Eastern aircraft industry: the current state of affairs, the expectations of market players, manufacturers and customers.

In the field of civil aircraft construction, one of the main tasks is to provide an effective after-sales service system for the SSJ 100 airliners and the MC-21, which is currently undergoing flight tests. The corresponding infrastructure is supposed to be developed, including at the airports where the airlines operating the SSJ 100 aircraft and, in the future, the MS-21 aircraft are based. In addition, the purchase of new Russian airliners by airlines should be facilitated by subsidies. Meanwhile, aviation industry enterprises continue their successful work within the framework of the state defense order.

EastRussia Bulletin: Friday exclusive - aircraft industry
Photo: JSC "Sukhoi Civil Aircraft"

To date, the main project in the field of civil aircraft construction is the MC-21 medium-range passenger airliner, which is being worked on at the Irkutsk Aviation Plant (a branch of PJSC Irkut Corporation of the United Aircraft Corporation, controlled by Rostec). In November last year, the construction of the first MC-21-310 aircraft with Russian PD-14 engines was completed.[1] - the airliner was transferred from the final assembly shop to the flight test division of the Irkutsk Aviation Plant. The first test flight of the airliner took place in mid-December. At the same time, in January, during tests of an aircraft with an imported engine in Zhukovsky near Moscow, an incident occurred with the departure of the airliner outside the runway, which, according to preliminary data, could be associated with a malfunction of the wheel disc brakes in the side landing gear struts, or with weather conditions. At the same time, tests of the aircraft with a Russian engine are still continuing successfully.

According to plans, the MS-21 with Russian engines should receive a certificate from the Federal Air Transport Agency in 2022, then undergo validation according to the European standards of the EASA agency, after which it will be possible to operate it by airlines. Serial production is supposed to start in 2023. At the same time, according to the head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade D. Manturov, 2023-10 airliners should be produced in 15, and by 2025 their production should reach 72 aircraft per year. The first production aircraft is currently in the IAP final assembly shop. It should be noted that the first operators of the MC-21 could be the airlines of the Aeroflot group and the Red Wings company controlled by Rostec.

Serial deliveries of aircraft with imported Pratt & Whitney (PW1400G-JM) engines, samples of which are currently undergoing flight tests, will begin, according to expectations, at the end of 2021. At the same time, the Ministry of Industry and Trade says that in the case of the MS-21, the unsuccessful experience of the SSJ 100 will not be repeated , which turned out to be problematic in operation for foreign companies, since the creation of logistics warehouses with spare parts and the formation of a chain of service centers in foreign markets was not ensured. In general, five MC-21 airliners are currently undergoing flight tests.

As for the medium-haul airliner SSJ 100 (manufacturer - a branch of the Irkut corporation - Regional Aircraft (UAC) at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aviation Plant), the main development direction of this project is the creation of a modification of the liner with maximum import substitution (SSJ-NEW) , as well as the development of a service system.

It is assumed that SSJ-NEW will receive about 97% of Russian components, including the new PD-8 engine. At the same time, given that this engine must be certified in 2023, the deliveries of the updated version of the liner are tied to this time, they can begin in 2024. As for its cost, the head of Rostec S. Chemezov called the price initially given by specialists too high the industry estimated the cost of the development of SSJ-NEW at 120-130 billion rubles, although he refrained from announcing any specific figures. At the same time, Rostec does not see the need for an enlarged version of the SSJ 100, evaluating the existing size of the liner as optimal.

At the end of 2020, there was a lag in the supply of SSJ 100. In total, 2020 aircraft were planned to be delivered in 22 (for Aeroflot, Red Wings, Azimut)[2], but by the end of the year only 12 were transferred to air carriers - through the leasing companies GTLK and PSB-Aviaprofleasing. Three planes were not delivered to Aeroflot, three more - to Red Wings. The reason was the delay in some of the processes in the Regional Aircraft company - the final outfitting and test flights. In addition, the delays could have been affected by the pandemic, which caused the adjustment of the delivery schedule by airlines and a decrease in passenger traffic.

Government subsidies should contribute to solving the problem of selling aircraft, which have accumulated at Irkut in varying degrees of readiness. At the end of last year, the Ministry of Industry and Trade prepared rules for granting budget subsidies to airlines to pay lease payments for SSJ 100 - we are talking about about 40 aircraft that were planned to be transferred to companies in 2021 and 2022. In particular, 29 aircraft are intended for Red Wings , 22 airliners - for Aeroflot, and the rest - for Azimut and Yakutia. It should be noted that by now the UAC has accumulated 59 SSJ 100 airliners in varying degrees of readiness.

Airlines are to receive 333,28 million rubles in subsidies for each SSJ 100 delivered under a finance lease, and 139,98 million rubles for deliveries under an operating lease. Budget expenditures for these purposes are estimated at 8,26-19,66 billion rubles. At the same time, the leasing of these liners is also subsidized in accordance with Resolution No. 1212, according to which 100 million rubles are allocated for financial leasing for each SSJ 199. However, after the introduction of the new subsidy program, recipients can only benefit from one of them.        

It is also proposed to introduce direct compensation for part of the airlines' costs for operating the SSJ 100 - 37,5 thousand rubles for each flight hour of the aircraft in excess of 60 hours of flight per month (the average level of flight is currently 8-9 hours per day). Thus, the amount of this subsidy should not exceed 200 million rubles. The Ministry of Industry and Trade explains the need to introduce this subsidy by bringing the cost of maintaining the airworthiness of the SSJ 100 to the level of foreign counterparts (currently the cost is $ 1 for the SSJ 350 against $ 100 for foreign counterparts), given that the operating companies of the airliners generate revenue in rubles. and lease payments are calculated in foreign currency against the background of the devaluation of the ruble. However, industry experts note that extending the measure to only new aircraft could negatively impact the SSJ 850 aftermarket, as lessees will find it more profitable to purchase new aircraft, taking into account the existing subsidy and service cost compensation program.

One of the main subjects of criticism from SSJ 100 operators is the poorly developed service system. As part of measures to develop after-sales service for SSJ 100, at the beginning of the year in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Irkut Corporation opened a service center for SSJ 100 aircraft, which is also related to plans to equip the fleet of the new Far Eastern airline Aurora exclusively with Russian vessels. production facilities, including SSJ 100. Preliminary agreements on aircraft maintenance in the new center were reached with the Yakutia airline.

In addition, R. Trotsenko's AEON corporation intends to create an infrastructure for servicing SSJ 100 aircraft at regional airports. The Novaport holding, which is part of AEON, owns 18 regional airports, and it is planned to locate service bases in three - in Chelyabinsk, Perm and Kaliningrad. It is these cities that Red Wings intends to designate for basing its SSJ 100 aircraft[3]... Nevertheless, in these cities there are still no centers of competence for aircraft maintenance and the necessary qualified personnel, in connection with which we can talk about the creation of linear service stations, and not full-fledged bases.

The volume of investments in the creation of service centers has not yet been determined, but Novaport supposes that it will depend on the number of flights and the air traffic provided by the carrier - on average, the creation of one base is still estimated at 1,5 billion rubles. At the same time, it is planned to conclude a long-term lease agreement with Red Wings. Servicing of SSJ 100 today is also carried out in Zhukovsky, Moscow Region, and by Tulpar Technic in Tatarstan, S7 Technics in Novosibirsk and A-Technics (Aeroflot group).

It should be noted that in November last year, the management of the Sukhoi company changed - instead of I. Tarasenko[4] it was headed by Yu. Slyusar[5], who is the general director of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC, Rostec). The combination of two positions is associated with the implementation of the program of centralization of management of the enterprises of the corporation. In particular, this program provides for the transfer to PJSC UAC of the powers of the sole executive body of PJSC Sukhoi Company.

Meanwhile, the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant (Russian Helicopters, Rostec) plans to launch the production of a prototype of the nine-seat multipurpose aircraft Baikal (TVS-2DTS) in the coming years. Serial production is supposed to be launched in 2023-2024, in particular, in November 2020, the head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade D. Manturov announced this. At the end of last year, as soon as possible (in 2023 - in the first quarter of 2024), President Vladimir Putin urged to replace the outdated multipurpose An-2 with a new "Baikal" during a meeting with Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. It is planned to produce the first prototype of the aircraft by the end of March this year, and its presentation is to take place at the International Aviation and Space Salon this summer. Following a visit to the enterprise at the beginning of the year, Deputy Prime Minister and Presidential Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District Y. Trutnev recommended Aurora and other Far Eastern air carriers to study the possibility of purchasing new single-engine light multipurpose aircraft with appropriate adjustments to the plan for the need for domestically produced aircraft.

In addition, the first civilian middle-class helicopter is being assembled at the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant.[6] Mi-171A3, designed for flights over the sea and work in the oil and gas sector. The helicopter is also expected to be presented this year at the International Aviation and Space Salon.

The enterprise in Buryatia continues to work within the framework of the implementation of the state defense order. In 2021, the Ministry of Defense plans to deliver ten new Mi-8AMTSh-VN helicopters intended for transport and landing operations and fire support when performing special missions. A prototype of this helicopter is currently undergoing flight tests. Recall that U-UAZ specializes in the production of Mi-8AMT (convertible), Mi-171, Mi-171A2 and Mi-8AMTSh helicopters.

Other Far Eastern enterprises of the aviation industry are also carrying out work on the implementation of the defense order. In November last year, PJSC "Arsenyevskaya Aviation Company" Progress "them. Sazykina ”(Primorsky Territory, Russian Helicopters holding,“ Rostec ”) handed over to the Ministry of Defense all Ka-2020 Alligator combat reconnaissance and attack helicopters planned for delivery in 52. At the same time, the first modernized helicopter of this model, the Ka-52M (equipped with a guided missile with an increased range and a new radar system), was taken into the air last year. It should also be reminded that the enterprise is preparing for the production of the ship-based Ka-52K Katran helicopter (flight tests were completed in September last year), and in March last year, the plant began production of civilian medium multi-purpose Ka-62 helicopters (an experimental batch of six cars, delivery is scheduled for the current year). The Ka-62 helicopter is designed for 15 passengers and is designed to operate on regional passenger airlines; flight tests of this helicopter should be completed in October this year, and in November it is expected to receive a certificate of airworthiness. It should be noted that in December last year, the enterprise in Arsenyev completed the reconstruction of workshops for the production of parts, assemblies and blades from polymer-composite materials, carried out within the framework of the state program "Development of the military-industrial complex".

As for the fulfillment of the defense order at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aviation Plant (KnAAZ), at the beginning of the year the first Su-57 fifth-generation multipurpose fighter was handed over to the armed forces. In general, it is planned to transfer five such fighters to the customer this year, and by the end of 2024 their number should reach 22. The contract provides for the delivery of 76 aircraft until 2028.

[1]           In February, Rostec received permission for serial production of PD-14 engines (UEC-Perm Motors) and their delivery to customers for installation on MS-21 serial aircraft.

[2]           In 2011-19. 168 airliners were delivered (an average of 19 aircraft per year), with the largest number of ships (30) delivered in 2017, the smallest number (5) in 2019.

[3]           So far, the company's fleet has four SSJ 100s, but up to 2025 airliners are expected to be received by 60 thanks to a campaign to purchase aircraft that have accumulated from the manufacturer.

[4]           In February 2020, I. Tarasenko replaced I. Ozar as the head of Sukhoi, who had been managing the company since 2011.

[5]           In 2017-19. Yuri Slyusar was the head of the Irkut company.

[6]           To complete transportation tasks on an offshore platform.

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