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17 Mar, 2008 06:28

Doubts over Russia’s role in Airbus project

The notion that Airbus would allow Russia to produce sophisticated parts of the new A350 is fanciful, according to one of the country’s top aviation analysts. Airbus told RT that Russian manufacturers will make key parts of the new plane.

But that has been mocked by Evgeny Shago, head of analysis at Ingosstrakh Investments.

“Aeroflot will buy up to ten A320s and S7 – up to four Airbuses to replace their Tupolev 254s. But there's no way Airbus will let Russia make high-tech parts – only the simplest bits of the fuselage or chassis. The problem is that Airbus doesn’t trust developing nations,” said Evgeny Shago.

Airbus parent EADS claims Russian manufacturers Irkut and VASO are set to produce up to 5% of its new A350 widebody.

“Discussions are in progress with our Russian counterparts over what content they'd be interested to deliver for this aircraft. The first-year suppliers and major second-year suppliers should be defined by end of 2008,” said Vadim Vlasov, EADS Russia president.

After a record 2007 with 1,300 plane orders, Airbus admit fears of a global recession will almost halve that to 700 this year. But the planemaker remains bullish on Russia, whose air market is beating the global average at over 6% a year.

Airbus set out their plans for Russia at their annual media conference in Moscow on Wednesday.

“We’ll have 2-3 more customers signing up during the year – 20 or 30 aircraft, the majority is interested in the A320 family,” said Dr. Andreas Kramer, Airbus vice-president.