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Russia and CIS to take three-to-eight per cent of all new aircraft deliveries within two decades

чт, 19/07/2018 - 00:00
In their 20-year forecasts – published in advance of the UK’s Farnborough International Air Show – the world’s leading aircraft manufacturers of Airbus, Boeing, Embraer and ATR, predicted the commercial aviation sector in Russia and the CIS region will grow in line with the general improvement of economic indicators. According to Airbus forecasts, in the period from 2018 to 2037, the commercial aviation industry in the region will demand 1,221 new commercial jets with 100-plus seats, amounting to a value of US$175 billion. The estimate is based on a 4.4 per cent traffic growth forecast and corresponds to 3.3 per cent of the total global demand for aircraft. Demand in the single-aisle segment is estimated at 998 aircraft (79.3 per cent of the total), a further 156 aircraft will be medium capacity narrow-bodies (12.4 per cent) and, in the wide-body segment, airlines will need 47 aircraft (3.7 per cent). The remaining 58 aircraft will be in the extra-capacity segment (4.6 per cent of the total). In the freighter arena, demand in the region is expected to rank third in the world, accounting for less than five per cent of the global requirement, with 38 aircraft at an estimated cost of $11 billion. There are currently 70 freighter aircraft in operation in the region today, and the region’s fleet is expected to grow by 32.9 per cent by 2037. For this year, the European aircraft manufacturer estimates that the total passenger airliner fleet in Russia and the CIS will reach 857, making up 4.3 per cent of the global fleet. Within two decades the list is expected to double to 1,713 aircraft, or 3.8 per cent of the global inventory. Boeing’s forecast for the same period anticipates that three per cent of global airliner deliveries, or 1,290 aircraft, will go to operators in Russia and the CIS. The narrow-body segment is expected to experience the highest demand, the share of such aircraft reaching 70 per cent (900 aircraft) of the collective fleet. Regional jets will account for 16 per cent of all new deliveries (210 aircraft) and a further 12 per cent (150 aircraft) will be wide-bodies. The remaining two per cent, or 30 aircraft, will be freighters. Boeing’s estimate of the collectively-operated fleet in the Russia and CIS region is different from that of Airbus, with the current fleet of 1,180 aircraft expected to grow 67 per cent to 1,970 aircraft, according to the Seattle, US-based company. Embraer’s forecast accounts for aircraft with a capacity of 150 seats or less and in this category, airlines in Russia and the CIS will need 580 aircraft, or six per cent of all new deliveries within the next two decades, it predicts. Of this number, some 490 units will be jet aircraft and the remaining 90 turboprops. The total fleet in this seating capacity range is expected to grow from the current 500 to 880 aircraft in 2037. ATR, which focuses only on the turboprop market, offers an optimistic forecast, predicting a 60 per cent increase of the global turboprop fleet within the next 20 years. The company does not proffer a separate estimate for Russia and the CIS, instead grouping the region together with eastern Europe. Nevertheless, within this larger territory, the total fleet of turboprops is expected to almost triple from the current 100 to 280 aircraft due to an expected revival of regional and local aviation services. In the period, there will be 250 new deliveries, accounting for 8.3 per cent of the total number of turboprop deliveries globally, says ATR.

Peruvian airline signs LoI for 20 Russian SSJ100 and MC-21 aircraft

ср, 18/07/2018 - 00:00
Peruvian Airlines has signed a letter of intent with Russian aircraft manufacturer Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (SCAC) for the acquisition of Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ100) regional jets and MC-21 advanced narrow-bodies. The document covers a total of 20 aircraft, 10 of each type, SCAC says in a statement. The Peruvian carrier, which currently operates a fleet of a dozen older-generation Boeing 737CLs, has voiced its intent to launch a subsidiary operating Russian-made aircraft both domestically and internationally. The provisional plan is to start operations in the 2020/2021 period and operate the aircraft on flights to Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil. The acquisition prospectus was signed at the UK’s Farnborough Air Show by Alexander Rubtsov, president of the Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company (SCAC), and Cesar Cataño, founder and shareholder of Aeroperu International, who is also founder of Peruvian Airlines. Following its plans for a strategic business expansion and for the extension of its route network, Cataño and other shareholders of the Peruvian company have been studying the market availability of different aircraft types. From his personal experience of travelling on the SSJ100 and with positive feedback from “other Latin American operators” – a reference to Mexico’s Interjet, the continent’s only Russian regional jet operator – Cataño “took a personal interest in the SSJ100 aircraft”, a Sukhoi statement explains. For the carrier’s future routes with extended passenger flows, the possibility of “purchasing MC-21s might also be considered”, the manufacturer adds. Latin America is one of SCAC’s priority markets. A successful example in the region is the continuing deliveries of 30 SSJ100s to Mexico’s Interjet, which is the largest operator of the Russian-made regional jets outside of Russia, with 22 aircraft delivered to date. Previous letters of intent for the SCAC aircraft were signed in April with Aero Mongolia requesting two SSJ100s; and two Iranian operators, Iran Aseman Airlines and Iran Air Tours, considering a combined possible total of 40 SSJ100s. The collective global fleet of SSJ100s currently amounts to 133 aircraft, 99 of which are operated in Russia. Since the beginning of this year the original equipment manufacturer has delivered eight aircraft. Deliveries last year reached 30 units.

PHOTO: MC-21’s second flight-capable prototype receives new colour scheme

вс, 15/07/2018 - 00:00
The second flight-capable iteration of Russia’s advanced narrow-body MC-21 aircraft is sporting a new livery. Instead of the Russian flag-inspired tri-colours used on the first prototype, the designers chose to paint the latest version’s fuselage completely white – “to give an illustrative demonstration of the airframe surface’s high quality and the precision of the section joints,” Irkut, the aircraft’s manufacturer reveals. In its new livery, the aircraft took off from Irkut Aviation Plant’s airfield on July 11 for a three-hour, seven-minute test flight, which included aircraft systems checks and the mapping of aerodynamic corrections for the aircraft’s airspeed measurement system. The prototype reached an altitude of 9,000 metres and the flight was completed uneventfully, the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) reports. The second prototype of the MC-21-300 joined the test programme on May 12 of this year 12 months after the first performed its maiden flight. Each prototype aircraft is powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1400G geared turbofan engines. A third prototype is currently undergoing static tests at Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI) at Zhukovsky near Moscow, while three more test aircraft are being assembled at the Irkut Aviation Plant. Meanwhile, preparations for the serial production of the MC-21-300 family is underway, the OEM reports. MC-21 is the first Russian-made narrowbody commercial passenger airliner designed in the post-Soviet era. The program was launched in 2007 and is headed by Irkut, a subsidiary of Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation. [caption id="attachment_14360" align="alignnone" width="660"] The second flight-capable iteration of Russia’s advanced narrow-body MC-21 aircraft is sporting a new livery (Irkut)[/caption] [caption id="attachment_14361" align="alignnone" width="660"] The first MC-21 prototype is in its original colours (Irkut)[/caption]

Russo-Italian JV to launch MRO centre in Moscow

вт, 10/07/2018 - 00:00
In an effort to create a dominant force in the business of Russian aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services, whilst at the same time re-establishing a once strong partnership with the Italian aerospace industry, Russia’s state mega-corporation Rostec and its MRO arm Technodinamika has signed an agreement with Italy’s Atitech Spa to build an aircraft, engine and component maintenance centre in Moscow. The initial memorandum of understanding for the project was originally signed by Sergey Chemezov, the general director of Rostec , his Technodinamika peer Igor Nasenkov and Atitech’s executive director Gianni Lettieri in January, with a joint venture set up in Moscow in accordance with Russian law on June 7, 2018, reveals Atitech’s Facebook post. The project’s roadmap includes the construction of a new MRO centre within a two-year timeframe. At present, the project’s partners are reviewing several potential locations in the Moscow region. The centre will possess equipment and competences offering both line- and base-maintenance of western-built jets, such as Boeing, Airbus and Bombardier, as well Russia’s advanced MC-21 narrowbody airliner, and the Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ 100) regional jet and their components. An engine and gear strut repair business would be the next step in the JV’s business development, the Technodinamika’s statement claims. Also, Russian engineers and technicians will receive training at Atitech’s Naples-based Part 147-approved training centre. “Technodinamika has accumulated extensive experience in providing aircraft maintenance and repair services. This cooperation with Atitech will help strengthen its market position and expand its presence in the Moscow region, where demand for MRO services is the highest in Russia. The new service centre will also become an important link in the aftersales support chain for the new MC-21 airlines,” explains Rostec’s Chemezov. In a recent move, ACS, which is part of Technodinamika, was appointed as a main logistics operator for the MC-21 aircraft. ACS expects to receive its EASA Part 21 certification in two-to-three years time, allowing it to service aircraft interiors. Also, the company plans to expand its production facilities at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport, with the launch of a new site expected in 2018. In addition, ACS intends to become the second Russian company offering servicing of CFM International CFM56 engines. This is not the first attempt of Rostec to create a joint MRO business with international partners. In 2013, it planned to set up an MRO facility together with Aeroflot and the Swiss’ SR Technics. Current Russian and CIS clients of Atitech include NordStar, Royal Flight, iFly, VIM-Avia (now defunct) and Kazakhstan’s SCAT.

Russia’s Ural Airlines to take delivery of new A320neos and B737MAXs in 2019

вт, 10/07/2018 - 00:00
Sergey Skuratov, general director of Ural Airlines, Russia’s fourth largest carrier, has confirmed what has been in the air for several months: that, in 2019 and for the first time in its history, the carrier is to take delivery of seven brand new aircraft. Three of these will be previously unconfirmed Airbus A320neos, reports TASS, Russia’s state newswire. “Next April we are taking delivery – straight from the manufacturer – of two Airbus A321s, and a further three Airbus A320neos in the summer [of the same year], and then two Boeing 737-800MAXs, Boeing’s latest model, in the autumn,” Skuratov confirmed, adding that the airline has signed “a very good contract” for 10 Boeing aircraft. Ural Airlines has agreed a deal for the lease of 14 new Boeing 737MAX-8 in early June. The fleet expansion and renewal effort supports the Yekaterinburg-based airline’s ambitious growth plans. The carrier currently operates a fleet of 45 second-hand Airbus A320 family airliners. This year it has added three aircraft to its fleet, and expects the delivery of a fourth in the next few weeks. In the first five months of this year Ural Airlines served 3.023 million passengers, enjoying a year-on-year growth of 18.7 per cent and moving up one place to fourth in Russia’s largest passenger airlines league. In its preparations for the servicing of its next-generation Boeing 737MAX and Airbus A320neo narrow-bodies, as well as increasing its third-party maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) capabilities, Ural has recently selected the Swiss-developed AMOS software package to replace its antiquated in-house MRO management system.

Aeroflot’s SSJ100 fleet grows to 45 Russian regional jets

пт, 06/07/2018 - 00:00
In a further demonstration of its support for the country’s aircraft manufacturing industry, Russia’s national carrier Aeroflot is continuing to take deliveries of locally-built Sukhoi Superjet 100s (SSJ 100s), with receipt of its 45th regional jet on 4 July. The latest aircraft, with registration number RA-89113, is the eighth SSJ 100 taken this year by the airline, which remains the biggest customer for the type. The newly delivered Sukhoi Superjet 100, on lease from state-owned VEB-Leasing, is configured with 12 seats in business class and 75 in economy, a standard seating plan for all its Superjets. It is planned to start operations on Aeroflot routes in the coming weeks. Since June 2011, 45 Sukhoi Superjet 100 Russian-built aircraft have been delivered to Aeroflot. In a statement, Aeroflot emphasises that it respects “the importance of supporting Russian manufacturing” – and plans to continue to expand its fleet of SSJ 100s, bringing the eventual total number to 50. In another move, last month Aeroflot also signed a firm agreement with Avia Capital Services LLC and Rostec State Corporation to acquire 50 next-generation MS-21-300 medium-haul airliners to be produced in Russia by Irkut Corporation (part of UAC). Currently Aeroflot’s 241-strong aircraft fleet, one of the world’s youngest, consists predominantly of western-built aircraft, including 79 Airbus A320s, 37 A321s, 22 A330s, 41 Boeing 737-800s, 17 Boeing 777-300ERs, as well as the 45 SSJ 100s.

Fourth Russian regional jet delivered to Brussels Airlines

ср, 04/07/2018 - 00:00
Lufthansa Group subsidiary Brussels Airlines has taken delivery of a Russian-built Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ100) regional jet, the fourth in its fleet. On June 29 the aircraft with tail number EI-FWG arrived at the Belgian airline’s base airport from Venice, where it was customized by Russo-Italian joint venture SuperJet International (SJI). The aircraft is one of the seven owned by Irish-based CityJet, which wet-leases it to Belgium’s flag carrier. CityJet, which placed a firm order for 15 SSJ100s and holds an option for further 16, took its first delivery in 2016 becoming the launch customer for the type in Europe. The previous aircraft of the batch was delivered a year ago. SJI, which was founded in 2007 (currently 41 per cent owned by manufacturer Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Co (SCAC), 49 per cent by its parent Sukhoi and the remaining ten per cent by Italian Leonardo) for the purpose of promoting the aircraft outside Russia, streamlining deliveries and providing after sales support. It has delivered 29 aircraft – 22 to Mexican Interjet and seven to CityJet. Russian Aviation Insider’s data show that SCAC has delivered 21 aircraft thus far this year, including 19 to Russian customers – eight to Aeroflot, seven to Yamal Airlines and four to Azimuth Airlines. CityJet and Thai Royal Air Force each got one SSJ100.

Aeroflot chooses seat and IFE system suppliers for its forthcoming Airbus A350s

вт, 03/07/2018 - 00:00
Aeroflot, Russia’s largest passenger airline, has chosen B/E Aerospace (a subsidiary of Rockwell Collins) as the supplier of seats for its entire order of 28 A350-900s, according to tender documentation. The USA-based manufacturer of commercial aircraft passenger cabin interior products – the only participant to submit a comprehensive proposal – has won the contract for supplying 7,336 economy, 672 premium economy and 784 business class seats for the total contract value of some US$130 million. B/E Aerospace’s legacy of co-operation with Russia’s aviation industry already includes the provision of cabin equipment for the Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ100) project, of which Aeroflot operates 44 and has six more of the regional jets on order. Aeroflot will take delivery of its first Airbus A350-900 in September 2019, a year behind the original schedule. A further two will be delivered in the same year, with the timeframe for the remaining 25 of the 28-strong A350 order stretching from 2019 to 2025. At the same time, Panasonic Avionics has also become a cabin equipment supplier for Aeroflot’s A350s, winning a $56.8 million contract for on-board internet connectivity and inflight entertainment systems (IFE). According to the tender documents, cabin layout and design for the A350s is being fashioned by British design firm Priestman Goode, under a $1 million contract. According to the tender, candidates had to submit a proposal for the design of economy and business class cabins, as well as a bar zone in the business class cabin, a feature that has never before appeared on an Aeroflot aircraft. The state-of-the-art Airbus A350s will replace Aeroflot’s fleet of 22 A330s as and when their lease terms expire. The national carrier is thus far the only Russian customer for Airbus’s new-gen wide-body, long-haul airliner.

US firm to design new windshields for Ukraine’s Antonov An-132 transport

чт, 28/06/2018 - 00:00
Pittsburgh, USA-headquartered PPG is to be added to a long and growing list of western suppliers for the Antonov/Taqnia An-132 transport aircraft. PPG has begun preliminary windshield design work for the Antonov An-132 twin-engined turboprop, following the execution of a memorandum of understanding, the US company announced on June 27. It is the first Antonov aircraft for which PPG will provide its specific transparencies expertise. “We appreciate the opportunity to demonstrate our unique ability to work with our customers to address their challenges and bring product benefits that far exceed their expectations,” says Brent Wright, PPG’s global director, aerospace transparencies. The Antonov An-132 multipurpose transport is a new-generation version of the original 1976 Soviet/Ukrainian An-32 aircraft, but with no Russian-made components. The programme is being implemented by Antonov in collaboration with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) and Taqnia Aeronautics Co. The first aircraft will be assembled in Ukraine, with series manufacturing transitioning to Saudi Arabia, with the involvement of Taqnia Aeronautics and KACST. The revitalised aircraft are to be fitted with a number of western-made components, including Pratt and Whitney Canada PW150 turboprop engines, R408 Dowty Propellers, Honeywell's Primus Epic integrated avionics systems, Ipeco’s crew seats, Liebherr’s life support systems, Hamilton Sundstrand-supplied Auxiliary Power Units (APU), Zodiac integrated oxygen systems and Crouzet cabin management systems. According to Antonov president Oleksandr Kryvokon, Ukrainian aircraft manufacturer selected PPG to design the identical pilot and co-pilot windshields because of PPG’s global leadership and advanced technology. “PPG is recognised as the world’s most experienced aerospace transparencies manufacturer, and its innovative windshield design will contribute to the efficiencies of the An-132 aircraft through reduced weight and the increased reliability of the cockpit windshields,” Kryvokon states. Once commercial terms are agreed, PPG and Antonov will develop the final design and production schedule. Certified approval of each of the two windshields is due to be completed in 2019. PPG’s aerospace business range includes coatings, sealants, transparencies, packaging and application systems, transparent armour, as well as chemical management and other services.

Sukhoi makes plans for a SSJ100 freighter

чт, 28/06/2018 - 00:00
Russian aircraft manufacturer Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Co (SCAC), part of the state-owned United Aircraft Corporation, is working on a cargo version of its Sukhoi Superjet (SSJ) regional aircraft. The freighter version scheme is listed in SCAC's latest annual report as a priority project in the further development of the SSJ100 programme. Although the document provides no further specific details of the freighter project, there are a number of other developments on the list, including a shortened version of the passenger aircraft, scaled down from 100 to 76-88 seats, offering a flight range of between 1,500 and 2,500 km. The programme schedule sets the service entry for this iteration at between 2022 and 2023. Another priority announced by SCAC earlier this year is the desire by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to significantly increase the proportion of Russian-made components in the version dubbed SSJ100R. This Russianised edition is being designed specifically for Russian governmental customers and for those export markets which are under restrictions imposed by the USA. Finally, a new twist in the project of the stretched version of the aircraft has been revealed. In the latest iteration it has mutated into ‘an added-capacity’ version of the base 100-seater. Last year the manufacturer announced it was planning to launch a 130-seat platform, with the simultaneous introduction of a new wing at some point within the 2023 timeframe. However, the latest insider information, from sources close to the airframe manufacturer’s parent UAC, points to a different idea, namely the fitting of more seats into the existing fuselage originally designed to seat a maximum of 103 passengers. Nevertheless, both the added-capacity project and the cargo version are at an concept design stage and all of the new proposed modifications will target "the actual needs of potential customers," SCAC insists. At the same time, a number of upgrades are underway for the existing basic version of the aircraft, including the expansion of its operational capabilities, such as for its performance in hot-and-high conditions, to +50C and 4,000 m ASL. Work on an improvement of the company’s after-sales support is also underway. The manufacturer is meanwhile also continuing to work on improving the Sukhoi Business Jet (SBJ), including extending its range to 7,000 km by installing auxiliary fuel tanks. Several specific milestones are set for this year, such as achieving certification of ‘saberlet’ winglets for improved aerodynamic efficiency, and for approval of steep glide-slope approaches needed for smaller runway airports such as those like London’s City Airport operations as envisioned by SSJ’s Irish customer CityJet. Throughout all of this development work, the Russian government has announced it will support the SSJ100 family project – by allocating six billion rubles from the state reserve fund in 2018. Last year a total of 34 SSJ100s were produced, with plans for 30 deliveries in 2018, but not all production slots are contracted yet, the document shows. The delivery target for the next five years encompasses between 170 and 180 aircraft, including the SBJ version. Overall sales projections for the 2018 to 2030 timeframe are 345 units, with the majority expected to stem from operators within Russia and the wider CIS, as well as in south-east Asia and Latin America. SCAC claims it is currently in negotiations with several potential customers in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, and the aim of achieving Chinese validation for the aircraft is well underway, with 90 per cent of the Chinese authorities’ requirements already satisfied, the company says. At the same time, the process of winning approval from European aviation authorities remains complicated, due to the absence of bilateral agreements between Rosaviatsiya (the Russian regulator, which recently took over the certification responsibility from CIS’ Interstate Aviation Committee’s Aviaregister) and international aviation authorities in terms of accepting each other's certification standards. As of now, with Rosaviatsiya unable to provide a one-stop-shop representation to deal solely with EASA, the manufacturer is therefore continuing a parallel certification effort by involving not only Rosaviatsiya, but also the Interstate Aviation Committee. The aim is to reach agreement with EASA to facilitate the seamless operation and continued airworthiness of the fleet operated in international markets. Financial results for last year indicate that SCAC's net losses decreased three-fold to 1.101 billion rubles (some US$19 million) in 2017. Yields grew 18.4 per cent to 55,368 billion rubles. In an interview with Russian state newswire TASS, SCAC president Alexander Rubtsov stated that the break-even point is not expected before 2019 or 2020, assuming a required production rate of 32 to 34 aircraft per year.

US firm to design new windshields for Ukraine’s Antonov An-132 transport

чт, 28/06/2018 - 00:00
Pittsburgh, USA-headquartered PPG is to be added to a long and growing list of western suppliers for the Antonov/Taqnia An-132 transport aircraft. PPG has begun preliminary windshield design work for the Antonov An-132 twin-engined turboprop, following the execution of a memorandum of understanding, the US company announced on June 27. It is the first Antonov aircraft for which PPG will provide its specific transparencies expertise. “We appreciate the opportunity to demonstrate our unique ability to work with our customers to address their challenges and bring product benefits that far exceed their expectations,” says Brent Wright, PPG’s global director, aerospace transparencies. The Antonov An-132 multipurpose transport is a new-generation version of the original 1976 Soviet/Ukrainian An-32 aircraft, but with no Russian-made components. The programme is being implemented by Antonov in collaboration with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) and Taqnia Aeronautics Co. The first aircraft will be assembled in Ukraine, with series manufacturing transitioning to Saudi Arabia, with the involvement of Taqnia Aeronautics and KACST. The revitalised aircraft are to be fitted with a number of western-made components, including Pratt and Whitney Canada PW150 turboprop engines, R408 Dowty Propellers, Honeywell's Primus Epic integrated avionics systems, Ipeco’s crew seats, Liebherr’s life support systems, Hamilton Sundstrand-supplied Auxiliary Power Units (APU), Zodiac integrated oxygen systems and Crouzet cabin management systems. According to Antonov president Oleksandr Kryvokon, Ukrainian aircraft manufacturer selected PPG to design the identical pilot and co-pilot windshields because of PPG’s global leadership and advanced technology. “PPG is recognised as the world’s most experienced aerospace transparencies manufacturer, and its innovative windshield design will contribute to the efficiencies of the An-132 aircraft through reduced weight and the increased reliability of the cockpit windshields,” Kryvokon states. Once commercial terms are agreed, PPG and Antonov will develop the final design and production schedule. Certified approval of each of the two windshields is due to be completed in 2019. PPG’s aerospace business range includes coatings, sealants, transparencies, packaging and application systems, transparent armour, as well as chemical management and other services.

Aeroflot’s shareholders approve lease of 50 MC-21 Russian airliners

вт, 26/06/2018 - 00:00
Shareholders of Aeroflot Group (which includes Aeroflot, Rossiya Airlines, Pobeda Airlines and Aurora Airlines) have approved a major financial transaction for the operating leases of 50 new MC-21-300 narrow-body aircraft, at the holding company’s Annual General Meeting held on June 25, the airline group reports. The new aircraft – a Russian single-aisle twinjet airliner project being developed by Irkut – will be leased from Aviacapital-Service (a subsidiary of State Corporation Rostec), which is currently leasing 50 Boeing 737-800s to Russia's flagship carrier. The planned timeframe for delivery of the MC-21s stretches from Q1 2020 to Q3 2026 and the lease term is 12 years for each aircraft, with an option to extend this by two additional years, for a maximum of three times. The total value of the transaction is estimated at US$5.231 billion, from which the monthly lease fee per aircraft will not exceed US$437,282. Aeroflot and Rostec signed the contract for the provision of 50 of the Irkut-made advanced aircraft in February of this year. With the first batch of 25 units powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1400G-JM engines, from the 26th delivery onward the option of Russian-made PD-14 turbofans becomes available. The new Russian powerplant is currently in the middle of its own certification test programme. Aeroflot's MC-21-300s will come with 16 business class seats (with 38 inches of pitch) and 153 (30 inches) in the economy cabin. The airline has also opted to equip each aircraft with Wi-Fi capability. The contract stipulates a guaranteed annual flight time per aircraft for the first three years of operation – 2,100 flight hours in the first year (with guaranteed dispatch reliability of 96 per cent), 2,900 in the second year (with 97 per cent dispatch reliability) and 3,750 flight hours in the third (98.5 per cent). Aeroflot has also signed up for Irkut's offer of a Launch Customer Package covering the first 20 aircraft. This provision includes a warranted compensation scheme, payable in the event that specified flight time targets for the first three years are not achieved. The total limit of the compensation payment is US$45.1 million, with the exact amount calculated at the end of each year based on actual flight hour numbers. Where the flight times fall short of those stated in the contract, the operator will be eligible for a compensation payment, which it may use for purchasing optional equipment and spare parts, or for staff training. However, where the specified target is exceeded, the compensation amount will be proportionately reduced. Another guarantee specifically outlined in the contract deal covers fuel consumption. Irkut guarantees that for an average route of 3,240 km, with a pre-set load and with a tailwind of 14 knots, the aircraft will burn no more than 9,865 kilos of fuel. Two other Russian airlines, IrAero of Irkutsk and Red Wings of Vnukovo, Moscow, are set to be the launch customers for the MC-21, with their delivery dates set for 2020.

World’s largest helicopter to replace Ukrainian engines with Russian in 2023

вт, 26/06/2018 - 00:00
Mil Mi-26, the world’s largest series-built helicopter, is to be re-engined with new Russian PD-12V turboshafts in 2023, creating a rejuvenated version of the giant helicopter, an industry source has told ATO.ru, Russian Aviation Insider’s sister publication. The Soviet/Russian Mi-26 is currently powered by two Ukrainian Motor Sich D-136 turboshaft engines, the supply of which stopped following the on-going Crimea conflict between Ukraine and the Russian Federation. Initial flight tests of the re-engined super heavy rotorcraft are due to start in 2023 and approval for the manufacture of the pre-serial batch is expected in 2025. This plan is in line with the statement of Andrey Boginsky, the head of Russian Helicopters, who revealed in May that flight trials of the re-envigorated Mi-26 could start after 2022. The new engine option – the PD-12V turboshaft – is being developed by Perm-based Aviadvigatel, a subsidiary of Russia’s United Engine Corporation (UEC), as a derivative of the PD-14 turbofan, which is lined up to power the Irkut MC-21, Russia’s advanced twin-jet airliner. The preliminary design review of the PD-12V was completed last year, reveals an information and technical bulletin issued by Aviadvigatel. Completion of the engine prototype and the beginning of its first test runs are planned for 2020. The development process is projected to be concluded in 2025, the bulletin also points out. The PD-12V is expected to deliver more power than its older Ukrainian counterpart. It can be uprated to 14,000 hp, while the D-136 offers a maximum of only 11,400 hp. The increased power will provide the helicopter with a larger envelope, especially in high-altitude and hot climate conditions. Despite being heavier, the Russian engine will also be 18 per cent more fuel efficient than the Ukraine engine. The Mi-26, which entered service in 1984, has a maximum take-off weight of 56 tonnes and can carry up to 20 tonnes of payload. The type is currently in use by the Russian military and by some other countries, as well a string of Russian commercial operators. In the early 2010s, Russian Helicopters upgraded the type to the Mi-26T2 version, which focused mostly on a new avionics suite, reducing the crew count from five to three. Russia’s principal commercial operators of the Mil Mi-26s include Utair (six of the type), Abakan Air (four), SKOL (three) and Alrosa, PANH, the Archangel United Avia division and Moscow aviation centre, each listing one. The PD-12V is also a candidate powerplant for the Advanced Heavy Lift (AHL) helicopter being co-developed by China and Russia.

First overseas delivery this year of the Sukhoi Superjet 100

ср, 20/06/2018 - 00:00
Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Co (SCAC) has delivered an extended range version of the Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ 100LR) aircraft in VIP-configuration to the Royal Thai Air Force, the first international delivery this year of the Russian regional jet. Also known as SBJ (Sukhoi Business Jet), the latest delivery is the third aircraft of the type to join the Royal Thai Air Force fleet. The SSJ100s have been operated as VIP transporters by Thailand since July 2016, following SCAC’s successful competitive tender in 2014. The aircraft are operated domestically and internationally on behalf of the country’s leaders, including top officials, members of the Thai royal family and the high command of the country’s armed forces. The two original Thai SBJ interiors featured three cabin layouts – a four-passenger VIP zone, a six-passenger business-class zone and a standard area with a seating capacity of up to 50 passengers. The newly delivered aircraft (MSN 95132) is reportedly configured differently. It will seat 73 passengers, with the cabin divided into two zones, with one believed to be a combination of VIP and business class seats. SCAC says that since 2016 when the Royal Thai Air Force became the first foreign customer for the business-version of the SSJ100, a number of other customers have followed suit, including Russia’s business aviation operator RusJet; the President of the Russian Federation’s special-purpose Rossiya flight detachment; the EMERCOM flight detachment; and Kazakhstan’s Kazakhmys metal Corp (operated by Comlux KZ), bringing to 10 the number of SBJs currently in operation worldwide. SCAC says that work is in progress to further enhance the Sukhoi Business Jet by implementing specific new technical features requested by customers, such as integral air-stairs, satellite communications, multimedia entertainment systems and other options. There is also an aim to increase the aircraft’s nonstop flight capability to more than 7,000 km.

Sino-Russian next-generation CR929 wide-body airliner advances

сб, 09/06/2018 - 00:00
Coincided with the first day of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s visit to China, on 8 June the Sino-Russian team working on the development of the CRAIС CR929, the wide-body long-range airliner, announced approval of the general layout of the next-generation aircraft, the move it claims to be a major step forward. The CR929 project is managed by Chinese-Russian commercial aircraft consortium CRAIС, a joint venture between Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) and COMAC (Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China) set up in May 2017. Approval of aircraft general layout is a result of efforts done during engineering concept review stage, or so called Gate 2 of the CRAIС’s internal development process, undertaken by JET-team, the joint Sino-Russian engineering team headed by CR929 chief designers Maxim Litvinov, representing the Russian side and Chen Yingchun, from China. The parties agreed to the aircraft principal geometry – wing span and shape, fuselage length, fuselage nose and tail section dimensions, aircraft fins sizing and form, location of engines, landing gear and doors. The next step is development of a uniform technical concept of CR929 family of aircraft, comprising CR929-600, the basic version capable to carry 280 passengers in a typical three class layout, shortened version CR929-500, to carry 230 passengers, as well as CR929-700 stretched variant with seating arrangement of 320. “The approval of CR929 general layout is a major step forward towards subsequent development of a uniform technical concept of CR929 family aircraft. This allows us to move on to the stage of full-scale joint development of the aircraft design and systems, inter alia, in the context of liaising with the potential suppliers of aircraft equipment and components,” explained Maxim Litvinov at the CR929 general layout signing ceremony. The CR929 program is currently at Gate 3, a definition phase. Apart from aircraft general layout approval, this stage also includes experimental research aerodynamics work, selection of structural materials and analysis of technical commercial proposals submitted by potential suppliers of the key systems and equipment. These works and Gate 3 phase are expected to be completed by mid-2019. CRAIC has received seven proposals for engines for the CR929 in late May, while April saw official commencement of Joint Concept Definition Phase (JCDP) intended to promote the deep participation of potential suppliers in product definition, optimize airborne systems and aircraft technical concepts. The CR929 is targeted to enter service in 2027.

ATC launches the production of composite aircraft components in Georgia

пт, 01/06/2018 - 00:00
A combination of Georgia's liberal tax system, its geographic location, investment environment, and free trade agreements with EU as well as China, has allowed the country to develop a composite aircraft parts production capability, which it hopes to woo potential customers Airbus, Boeing and Bombardier. Aero-Structure Technologies Cyclone (ATC), a joint venture between Israeli company Elbit Cyclone and Georgia's Partnership Fund, has opened a production facility for composite aircraft parts, the first of its kind in the south Caucasian region. The construction project, which was launched in September 2015, required an investment of US$93 million, Georgia's Partnership Fund reports. The facility, located outside Tbilisi International Airport, will be a centre of excellence for the manufacture of composite parts for commercial aircraft, including air-foils and doors, etc. The entire production output will be exported. The launch of the production line is scheduled for early 2019, once the company completes certification of the facility. ATC Aero is confident that its eventual customer base will include leading aircraft original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), such as Boeing, Airbus and Bombardier. At the official opening of the facility, Georgia's Prime Minister Georgiy Kvirikashvili declared that the choice of Georgia as a location for it was defined by a combination of the country's liberal taxation system, its favourable geographic location, attractive conditions for industry development and free trade agreements with all EU countries as well as China. In turn, Partnership Fund's executive director David Saganelidze pointed out that Georgia is able to offer competitive prices on its products due to favourable investment conditions in the country, whilst also adding that at least 90 per cent of the facility’s staff will be Georgian citizens. The company currently employs 80 personnel specifically trained in Israel. The facility, which is expected to reach its full capacity within five years from production launch, is projecting that annual turnover will reach $60 million and the number of personnel will rise to 300. Elbit Cyclone is a subsidiary of Elbit Systems, which is primarily known for the design and upgrade of defence-related products. It maintains connections with the global aircraft manufacturers.

Moody’s downgrades rating of Russia’s Irkut

чт, 31/05/2018 - 00:00
Moody's Investors Service (Moody's) has downgraded to B1 from Ba3 the corporate family rating (CFR) and to B1-PD from Ba3-PD the probability of default rating (PDR) of Irkut Corporation, Russia’s government-related producer of civil and military aircraft. The outlook has been changed to stable from negative, says the ratings agency, even though there is continuing deterioration of the company’s standalone credit profile which points to the company's current reliance on government support during the heavy investment phase of the MC-21 aircraft project, Russia’s advanced narrow-body transport venture. As Irkut is controlled by the Russian government, the company is seen by Moody's as being highly dependent on the government both for aircraft construction orders and for its funding, whilst also benefiting from the government's on-going support such as contributions to research costs, the partial reimbursement of interest expenses, regular equity injections and interest-free loans. Today's downgrading of Irkut's rating to B1 from Ba3 was triggered primarily by the deterioration in Irkut's standalone creditworthiness – and reflects Moody's assumption of the strong probability of accelerated state support in the event of financial distress. Irkut's standalone creditworthiness has materially weakened over the last few years because of a combination of the increased debt-funded research and development costs for the new generation MC-21 civil aircraft, and for the lack of high-margin sales revenues of such a nascent project. The volume of low-margin military aircraft contracts agreed with Russia's Ministry of Defence are insufficient in themselves to support the budgeted funding of the MC-21 programme without a substantial increase in new debt and leverage. Moody's outlook expects Irkut's operating performance to remain weak over the next 12-18 months, as investments in the MC-21 project continue. Negative free cash-flow generation in 2018-19 is likely to be debt funded, increasing the borrowing requirement through 2019. However, the overall credit risk is partially mitigated by the long-term strategic value of the MC-21 project for the Russian government, which orchestrates its funding support via state-controlled banks and state-related entities on a regular basis. In 2017, Irkut Corporation – one of Russia’s biggest companies in the aviation sector – generated revenues of approximately RUB84.5 billion. (US$1.43 billion) In the mid-term, Irkut's operating performance and its leverage should improve significantly after 2019, which is when the aircraft production company is expecting to see the benefits of ramped up commercial production and sales of the MC-21 – and the consequential generation of higher-margin export revenue. Meanwhile, Moody's also positively acknowledges that two prototype MC-21 aircraft have successfully completed maiden flights, proving that the programme is generally on track. However, in Moody's view, as the test programme continues, the associated execution and delay risks, both in the certification and production stages, remain high. At the same time, Irkut's is positively factoring in a strong backlog of state orders, plus the availability of solid cash reserves and undrawn committed facilities from the state banks. The former provides some visibility into the company's revenue prospects, whilst the latter eases liquidity pressure. “The stable outlook on Irkut's rating reflects our expectation that the company's credit metrics will not weaken materially further over the next 12-18 months; and liquidity will continue to be at least adequate,” says a statement from the credit agency. The stable outlook also assumes no negative change in Russia's sovereign rating and in Moody's assumption of continuing strong government support. Therefore, upward pressure on Irkut's rating is unlikely over the next 12-18 months, especially given that no material improvements in the military aircraft segment are envisaged through 2019. There are, though, a number of circumstances whereby Irkut's rating could be downgraded, especially if Russia's sovereign rating were to be downgraded. For example, they include any diminishment of the Russian government’s support for Irkut; the execution of the MC-21 project being materially delayed; the emergence of difficulties in obtaining external funding; or Irkut's financial profile deteriorating further, with liquidity weakened on a sustained basis.

Russia and France agree to re-engine Russian amphibious aircraft

чт, 31/05/2018 - 00:00
In a much-awaited move, UEC-Saturn of Russia and Safran Aircraft Engines of France have signed a framework agreement regarding the development of a re-engined version of the Beriev Be-200 fire-fighting aircraft, using the PowerJet SaM146 engine, a turbofan developed and produced by the two aero-engine manufacturers through PowerJet, their 50/50 joint company. The agreement was signed by Olivier Andries, chief executive officer of Safran Aircraft Engines, and Alexander Artyukhov, director general of UEC, in a ceremony attended by Denis Manturov, Russia’s Minister of Industry and Trade and which was held within the scope of the high profile meeting between the French and Russian presidents, Emmanuel Macron and Vladimir Putin, at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum at the end of last week. The Beriev Be-200 is a multi-role amphibious aircraft, with specialist capabilities which include maritime surveillance, wildfire-fighting, passenger transport and humanitarian relief. The Be-200 is the first aircraft of this type to be fitted with two jet engines located over the wings to reduce the risks of water projection. According to Olivier Andries: “We are delighted to contribute to this project, clearly reflecting our ongoing commitment to bolstering collaboration with the Russian aviation industry, a collaboration that started some 20 years ago. Safran Aircraft Engines produces the SaM146 core, and this engine symbolises the full value of our industrial partnership, one that we are very pleased to further develop with this new agreement on the Beriev Be-200.” The partnership is also a new opportunity to develop further synergies with Safran Aircraft Engines, points out Alexander Artyukhov. “Along with our French partner we have defined a very clear road map, allowing us to start the development of a new version of the SaM146 that will meet the requirements of the Beriev-200,” he adds. The SaM146 version currently in operation powers the Russian-made Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ100) regional jet and, as of May 2018, had logged more than 875,000 flight-hours. The upgrade includes a new nacelle, an over-the-wing mounted engine pylon and a significant update of the FADEC software. Not surprisingly, there is an extensive research and development (R&D) process required to satisfy the programme, and a roadmap has been outlined to streamline certification of the re-engined Be-200 and facilitate its entry into service by Q3 2020. The programme includes assembly of three engine prototypes. Be-200 will be powered by SaM146-1S18, currently used for the long-range (LR) variant of the SSJ100 and for the high-and-hot SSJ100B-100 version. These engines feature a five per cent thrust advantage over the base variant, to 7,332 kg. The Be-200 currently uses the 7,650 kg D-436TP engines produced by Ukrainian engine-maker Motor Sich, but reports quoting Russia’s Industry minister Oleg Bocharov suggest that the Ukrainian authorities have barred the engine producer from delivering additional D-436-family engines (which are also installed on Antonov An-148 regional jets) to Russia. Safran Aircraft Engines and UEC-Saturn inaugurated their partnership in 1996, when the Russian engine-maker began to produce parts for the CFM56. In 2004 the two partners created PowerJet, a 50/50 joint company, to develop and produce the SaM146 propulsion system for the Sukhoi Superjet 100 regional jet. This engine started revenue service in 2011 and has since logged more than 875,000 flight-hours for about 15 operators worldwide.

Russia’s state leasing company signs deals for 20 Russian helicopters

сб, 26/05/2018 - 00:00
Russia’s GTLK State Transport Leasing Company has announced leasing deals covering a total of 20 helicopters for domestic operators. The contracts are to be financed through the special government programme which assists in the renewal and expansion of those fleets of medevac services employed in the country’s remote areas. Nine domestic operators will receive 11 Russian Helicopters’ Mil Mi-8 family transports and nine Ansat light rotorcraft. GTLK’s largest contract is with Russian Helicopter Systems, which is to receive five Ansats and, for the first time in its history, two Mi-8AMT heavy rotorcraft. The other lessees include Skol Airlines (three Ansats and two Mi-8AMTs), Yeltsovka (two Mi-8AMTs), Vyatkaavia (one Ansat); and one each of the Mi-8AMT/MTV-1 family will go to Naryan-Mar United Aviation Squadron, AeroGeo, PANH Helicopters, Vologda Air Company and Vityaz-Aero. “We will take delivery of another 31 rotorcraft this year under the contract with Russian Helicopters,” reveals Anton Borisevich, GTLK’s first deputy chief executive. “Due to high demand, we intend to lease all of them out by year-end.” Last year, GTLK delivered 29 helicopters to 17 operators under the medevac services programme, and signed lease contracts for six Ansats and 23 Mi-8s. GTLK State Transport Leasing Company is one of the top 5 Russian leasing companies by volume of the leasing portfolio, an industry leader in the aircraft and water transport leasing sectors. The sole shareholder of the company is the Russian Federation represented by the Ministry of Transport.

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