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Interview with Douglas Barrie

Douglas Barrie from  Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine, present at the MAKS-2007 air show, spoke to Russia Today about the prospects of the Russian aviation industry.

Russia Today: As an expert in the field, you must have visited all the major international air shows. How do you think MAKS compares with them and what do you think makes it different from all the others?

Douglas Barrie: MAKS is really Russia’s window in the world in terms of the aerospace sector. MAKS is not a Farnborough or Paris – the two global air shows, far more larger in scale and in terms of the businesses that is done. They are genuine global air shows with industry from all over the world. MAKS is really all about the Russian aerospace sector and what it can do.

RT: With so many deals already signed, so many companies participating, the main goal of the show is to strengthen Russian aviation industry. How do you think MAKS will achieve this?

D.B.: Well, obviously it is a display for the sector itself, to show itself off. Not only to the rest of the world, but also to the Russian population. It is an opportunity for the industry to try to attract the young people into it as a career. One of the main problems has been that young people tend to want to go into different things, rather than becoming an aerospace engineer. They want to go to computing or banking. So, hopefully MAKS will provide the platform for the industry to start to bring people, youngsters, back into the sector.

RT: This show indeed promotes aviation industry and in fact makes a lot of youngsters want to join it, as you have just said. For the first time the country's major aircraft producers are presented at the show as part of the state-owned United Aircraft-Building Corporation. It's only one year old, but it is causing mixed reactions. Some say it lacks proper management. What is your opinion on that?

D.B.: I think consolidation is desperately needed in the Russian aerospace sector. If you look globally, in Europe and the U.S. the past decade – fifteen years – have seen the number of companies dwindle. The Russian sector needs to do the same thing. It needs to consolidate and the United Aircraft-Building Corporation is the vehicle to do this. UAC has to be a success if Russian aerospace is to survive in anything like its current size and shape.