Are Russia’s Aircraft Orders Falling Apart Before They Have Even Started?

Rulexip, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – Based on transcripts from the Kremlin, are Russia’s planned aircraft orders falling apart before they have even started?

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin appears to have been disgruntled at the fact that contracts for aircraft orders aren’t being finalized quickly enough.

There is also confusion about how many aircraft will be delivered to civil entities as well as defense entities as well.

The Transcripts…, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In the transcripts, as labeled by AeroTime News, Putin commented on the timescale of these aircraft orders:

“Long! Too long. The companies have to understand their perspectives and their orders. They have to hire the workforce and keep or increase manufacturing capacities, understand?”

“They have to know how many [aircraft] the military is going to order, how many civilian aircraft are going to be ordered. Some companies don’t even have orders for 2023.”

“Denis Valentinovich, [you say that] everything is laid out, but there are no contracts. I say this again. Let’s [discuss that] later; let’s finish the meeting now.”

“Why are we bickering here? I know that the companies don’t have orders, the directors told me. Really, why are you fooling about it?”

“When will we have the contracts? That’s what I am talking about. The directors of the companies are telling me: there are no contracts. And it’s all ‘laid out’ for you”.

Is Aeroflot The Only Customer For Civil Aircraft?

Photo Credit: Karam Sodhi/AviationSource

From what Putin has said in the transcripts, it does convey the view that Aeroflot is the only customer for Russian-built civil aircraft at present.

The airline stated its intention to order over 300 Russian-built aircraft back in August, which consisted of 73 Sukhoi SuperJets, 210 Irkut MC-21s, and 40 Tupolev Tu-214 aircraft.

Aeroflot has been heavily supported by the Russian government, with up to 50 billion rubles at present.

So, with this in mind, Aeroflot does appear to be the only civil stakeholder that is making investments in Russian aircraft manufacturers.

This could also convey the view that there is pressure to ensure that airlines such as S7 Airlines, Pobeda, Ural Airlines, and others join the customer list.

There does seem to be an element of panic here from the Russian president, especially if he is wanting contracts to be signed straight away.

From the perspective of Russian aviation, there is a good reason for this. Lack of Western spare parts.

A lot of aircraft in Russia are beginning to become inoperable as they are not able to source the parts that they need, which is why Putin is pushing for Russian-built aircraft.


Anna Zvereva from Tallinn, Estonia, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The pressure is on Putin and his cabinet to ensure that there are enough aircraft being ordered from the civil and defense perspective in order for this whole nationalistic approach to work.

All eyes will be on the Russian Government to see whether it can indeed initiate the contracts needed to make Putin’s plan of being less dependent on Western aircraft work.

For now, all eyes will be on this situation to see whether any blockbuster orders for Russian aircraft are made in the months ahead. Otherwise, this is all going to fall apart.

By James Field - Editor in Chief 4 Min Read
4 Min Read
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