LONDON – This week, the Iranian Government announced that it would supply Russia with aircraft parts, as sanctions continue to bite.
Such a deal was part of an overall Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two countries that would also see the number of weekly flights increase to 35.
This would be a mix of cargo and passenger flights. and under the MoU, there would be no capacity restrictions, meaning that more flights could occur in the future.
A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Organization in Iran said the following:
“Iranian and Russian officials in the meeting emphasized the need to boost bilateral cooperation in the field of air transportation”.
“It was also decided to sign a cooperation agreement with Russia in line with providing the possibility of exporting parts and equipment manufactured in Iran to Russia as well as carrying out repair and maintenance services and technical support of Russian aircraft by Iran’s repair centers”.
Russia’s Aviation Strategy Is Intensifying…
It is clear that Russia is intensifying its sanction-based aviation strategy.
According to reports, the United Aircraft Company of Russia is looking to restore 11 decommissioned aircraft back to an airworthy state.
The lucky three customers are expected to be Red Wings, Volga-Dnepr & Aviastar-TU, with the aircraft consisting of:
- 1 Antonov AN-124.
- 2 Ilyushin IL-96-400Ts.
- 8 Tupolev TU204/214s.
Reports also mention that the restoration is expected to cost $267 million, and will be completed in 2024, which is less than two years away.
Restoration is a Strategy?
It looks clear that restoration is the strategy whilst new aircraft are subsequently built and delivered to the respective carriers in Russia.
UAC is already in the process of restoring Tu-204s, IL-96s, and AN-148s, according to an announcement made by the manufacturer back in March.
This comes as no surprise, especially due to the planned investment announced by the Russian Government last month to make 81% of the country’s total aircraft Russian-made by 2030.
This 81% target was announced by Yury Borisov, the Russian Deputy Prime Minister, who made this announcement to government officials.
“The share of domestically produced aircraft in the fleet of Russian airlines should grow to 81% by 2030”.
The 81% & $14.5bn figures represent an overall program of 1,000 Russian aircraft to be delivered by the end of the decade.
On top of this, it is rumored that Aeroflot could be signing a deal with UAC for around 300 aircraft, which of course, would get things started and into gear regarding this.
Plans Are In Place…
It does appear that plans are beginning to formulate further in Russia, especially with the Chinese Government agreeing to supply Russia with spare plans for aircraft.
The Chinese Ambassador to Moscow Zhang Hanhui said the following to TASS earlier last month:
“We are ready to supply spare parts to Russia, we will set up the cooperation. Now, [airlines] are working [on this], they have certain channels, there are no restrictions on the part of China”.
The United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) has begun production of 20 Tupolev TU-214 aircraft as part of a production program that will replace Boeing & Airbus aircraft.
According to UAC’s CEO, Yuri Slyusar, production is going to scale up substantially:
“We are to scale up [serial production] shortly. We have already started production of twenty Tu-214 airplanes”, the CEO said to TASS.
With China opting to help out now, it will be interesting to see what sort of response this will deem from the West and whether efforts are being made to hinder this effort.
It remains clear that Russia is ramping up its plans to ensure that air travel in the country doesn’t deteriorate further than it needs to.
As sanctions continue to bite the country, they have no choice but to restore aircraft back into service. However, there is also the question of safety, especially with aircraft that have been decommissioned for a long while.
Either way, this is going to be interesting to watch, especially if the plans work. If they do work, then that is going to weaken the Western stance on sanctions.