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Interview with Aleksandr Rubtsov

Aleksandr Rubtsov, the CEO of Ilyushin Finance, spoke to Russia Today on the deals already made by his company at MAKS 2007, and the company’s strategy and goals.

Russia Today: Could you give us the details of the deals reached yesterday and today?

Aleksandr Rubtsov: Actually, yesterday we placed an order for six new Tu-204s. We already operate five Tu-204s, three of which we leased earlier, so that will bring the total number of Tu-204s in operation to eleven aircraft. We have also signed a lease with the ‘Russia’ company, which is the company owned by the government of the Russian Federation, which is also a flag-carrier for aircraft used by our President Putin. And they are also a commercial service. So they ordered twelve Antonov An-148 regional jets which will come into service late 2008 – the beginning of 2009. Today, we have placed an order for five Tu-204s with Iran Air company, which will use them for commercial services. This is a passenger version of this aircraft. We anticipate an order for another 15-20 aircraft of the same type in the future. Also we have extended our contract with the Cuban airline ‘Cubana’ for another two Tu-204 planes. We have also placed the first order for Antonov 148 regional type aircraft. We hope that will bring the total number of aircraft in our portfolio to something like 85 by the end of this airshow, and the Paris airshow.

RT: The United Aircraft-Building Corporation – you work with them as well, – isn’t there a conflict of interest? You sell Boeings and Airbuses – a part of your work is to sell planes to, for example, Russian airlines. Would you also, as part of the UAC, need to promote Russia’s aircraft building, is that a conflict of interest?

A.R.: Actually, from the outset, we have established a certain strategy within our firm which is effectively controlled by the UAC. We hold more than 50% of the company stock, so we believe that the main goal of our company is really to promote sales and leasing of Russian-made aircraft – of Tupolev, Ilyushin, Antonov, Sukhoi designs, and this is our main business. We consider transactions with Boeing and Airbus aircraft to be  sorts of deals which will help create new business opportunities for Russian-made aircraft, either in trading or co-operation, or sort of ‘stop-gap’ solutions – another type of business approach. I believe that it is clear from our strategy that we will specialise for next 10 years or so on Russian-made aircraft. This was exactly the strategy behind us when the company was established in 1990. Now that we have become a part of the UAC, certainly,  the production of airplanes is a significant goal. Now, we are producing a dozen or more per year, and the goal is really to sell and produce more than 150-180 civil aircraft per year by the end of 2015. So it is a very challenging goal and we really need to accomplish it.