MAKS 2011 sees buyers open wallets

RIA Novosti / Valery Melnikov
MAKS air show has become a major marketplace for Russian aircraft manufacturers.

The biggest spender so far has been Ilyushin Finance, wrapping up a $2.2 billion deal with Irkut Corporation for 50 of the new MS-21 medium range airliners. The Russian leasing company is also buying 10 Canadian Bombardier CS models – with the option for a further 10.

Other deals included Indonesia’s Sky Aviation's order for 12 Sukhoi Superjet-100 regional airliners worth almost four hundred million. Russian titanium-maker VSMPO-Avisma, has also signed three long-term agreements with Britain’s Rolls-Royce worth a quarter of a billion dollars, and a similar deal with Pratt and Whitney Canada.Despite the sales the market activity is unlikely to see sales records broken.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin oversaw several signing ceremonies, including a deal to sell 10 Sukhoi Superjet-100 planes to airline Gazpromavia.He also oversaw the creation of a joint venture between French aerospace group Safran and Russian Technologies. Jean-Paul Herteman, CEO at Safran, telling Business RT the multi-million euro start up will work on state-of-the-art navigation systems.

“There are very few countries in the World that master that type of technology, provide extreme accuracy in navigation of the aircraft, precision of weapons. I mean, there are 2 or 3 countries worldwide that are able to that capacity in joining our efforts. And France and Russia are very – very significant strategy wise.”

One deal that is still on the negotiation table is Aeroflot's desire to acquire the new Airbus A380, which would be a step towards Aeroflot's goal of increasing passenger numbers to roughly 70 million a year.