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22 Aug, 2007 19:15

Russia's UAC debuts at MAKS 2007

Russia's United Aircraft Corporation has made its debut at the MAKS 2007 aviation show. The corporation that consolidates the country's major aircraft producers received mixed reviews. Some industry insiders say the new corporation lacks money.

The United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), a one-year-old creation of Russia's First Deputy Prime Minister, Sergey Ivanov, is intended to revive the country's aviation industry sector. It will consolidate major Russian military and civilian aircraft makers, including Sukhoi, Illyushin and Tupolev.

Aleksandr Lebedev, a politician and key investor in Russia’s aircraft industry, says the corporation's main problem is funding.

“If I listen to a comment that ”we are going to be producing 300 civil aircraft per year in 15 years“, then I am asking a very easy question as a member of parliament – where does the funding come from?” he says.

Mr Lebedev also points out that the United Aircraft Corporation may lack proper management if it remains 100% state owned. The United Aircraft Corporation should attract private investors or at least not lose those who already own stakes in companies that are part of the corporation now.

Meantime, the European aerospace corporation, EADS, says it is eager to be a UAC shareholder and plans to boost co-operation with the new business unit.

“In the aviation sphere we have for some years now subcontracting activity with the Russian aviation industry ongoing. We are currently discussing the worksharing with our Russian partners – that is UAC – for the new long-range aircraft,  A350,” said Thomas Enders, the CEO of Airbus.
Large corporations like Airbus and Boeing invest billions of dollars in the development of the new aircraft. With only $US 600 MLN of investment in UAC, so far, it may remain just one of the numerous Airbus subcontractors and its plans to create competitive civil aircraft may stay just a dream.