Interview with Gairat Salimov
Russia Today: Dozens of Russian companies are participating at the Le Bourget show. Can you tell us what in particular they have to offer?
Gairat Salimov: Well, the presence of Russian companies at Le Bourget is traditionally quite symbolic because in general the companies which are coming to Le Bourget, most of them Western companies, they do not buy Russian civil aircraft which are not competitive at the moment. On the other side we usually do not sell our military equipment and hardware to the countries presented at Le Bourget. So generally this is more a symbolic presence where we show our best military products or what we have. Basically it is more for the other clients which might come to Le Bourget.
RT: Apart from Russian participants, what about global companies who participate in this event? Any major deals expected to be signed?
G.S.: Well, this time Le Bourget again traditionally features the show which is the competition between Boeing and Airbus. As you know, Airbus will struggle with its Super Jumbo A380 which was delayed in production, incurred significant losses and causing Airbus to cut jobs significantly. So this time we see that Airbus actually is taking back its positions, having signed significant deals compared its counterpart – the Dreamliner of Boeing – with United Arab Emirates, Qatar and some other Middle Eastern airlines. These are multibillion contracts.
RT: Can you tell us more about Russian manufacturer Sukhoi?
G.S.: Sukhoi is now one of the core parts of the newly created Russian United Aircraft Corporation. I think that in future it is better to talk about this unified big producer. The major role of Russia here is to become the third player in the long standing duopoly on the civil aviation market. So Sukhoi here shows to the customers their new aircraft which is Sukhoi SuperJet, which is expected to get a significant presence on the regional jet airline market.
RT: How important is this air show in terms of international aviation?
G.S.: I think this is one of the major aviation events globally. It traditionally was bringing a lot of interest from both commercial and military consumers. All the best products are always showcased there. So I think that the presence of Russian companies, even though they do not expect any significant breakthrough there, is very important. They should be there because this presence sets a symbolic stake in the industry.
RT: And finally, what can Russia actually get from it?
G.S.: I think the important message for Russia is that the third player is coming on, that Russia has united all its aircraft assets. They have enough cash and they have enough decisiveness to be the third major player. So it is up to Boeing and Airbus to decide whether to co-operate or to fight.