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16 Aug, 2007 15:22

MAKS 2007 opens next week

The 9th Moscow Aviation and Space Show is set to open on August 21 in Zhukovsky, near Moscow. Just two months after the Le Bourget air show in France, Russia's MAKS 2007 will reunite the world's major aviation players.

From August 21 to August 26 Russian manufacturers will be showing off their latest models. Foreign aviation companies will also take part in the air show, with visitor numbers expected to exceed 500,000 people.

More than 700 Russian and foreign companies are expected to showcase their latest technologies, with Russia's United aircraft corporation announcing plans this week for a massive expansion.

The standout participant from Russia will be the United Aircraft Corporation, a holding created early last year by the Russian president, which combines the country's top aircraft makers including Sukhoi and Ilyushin.

This week it announced plans to build 4,500 aircraft worth $US 250 BLN within the next 2 decades – most of them, civilian jets.  The plan will require about $US 250 MLN worth of state investment annually.

“Until recently Russia could hardly afford to investment in aerospace projects. Now the tide is turning. We face a very ambitious task: we have to return to the markets which the Soviet Union and Russia lost in previous decades and win 5% to 10% of the international civil aircraft market,” explained Oleg Panteleev, Editor-in-Chief of AviaPort.ru.

Sukhoi's ambitious Superjet-100 project may help Russia gain a foothold in that market, but the industry is anticipating something bigger and better, the MS-21 civilian jet. The plane is being jointly developed by aircraft makers Ilyushin, Tupolev and Yakovlev and will compete in price and efficiency with international giants Boeing and Airbus.

The head of the MAKS organisation, Boris Alyoshin, is confident of breaking the attendance figure of 650,000, set when the show was last held two years ago. The possibility of seeing the latest generation of civilian and military aircraft is sure to help.

“We stopped following the trend of the Russian market only, now we are targeting the global market. We have to be competitive there and we have to sell there. Equipment sold in Russia should not be different from equipment sold abroad,” stated Boris Alyoshin, the head of Federal Industrial Agency, Moscow.

The United Aircraft Corporation expects next week's show to bring in deals worth more than the 1 billion dollars from France's Le Bourget, leading to a future where Russia's jet makers can match their European counterparts.