First aircraft deals signed at MAKS 2007

The first day of Russia’s largest international air show MAKS 2007 that takes place every two years has ended with a number of major deals already signed. Around 800 companies from more than 40 countries opened their stands to display the aviation industr

MAKS 2007 prepares to enter its second day.

This year, private jet owners are participating as well.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has traditionally taken part in the opening ceremony.

“During the course of its existence, MAKS has gained much-deserved prestige and holds a firm position among the world’s leading aviation shows. Our scientists, designers and manufacturers present their advanced developments year after year, here in Zhukovsky. Business relationships are strengthened and mutually beneficial contracts are signed. I’m sure that MAKS 2007 will once again introduce Russia’s best scientific and technological achievements to the professional community and the public. It will make a significant contribution to the development of international co-operation,” President Putin stated.

This year's MAKS is different from the previous ones, because we are not only demonstrating our latest achievements, but also speaking about long-term development plans for the aviation industry in our country. The development of aviation and our long-term strategy will be represented at many stalls here, at those of the United Aircraft Corporation and its enterprises, and those of our suppliers, who are working on this strategy with us.

Mikhail Pogosyan,
Head of Sukhoi Holding

 

Organisers of the MAKS air show say it will be the biggest money-spinner yet. They plan to boost profits from MAKS to $US 40 MLN, which is 60% more than last time. Rent is the main source of income. Participants pay 260 euros for a square meter – more than at the better-known French air show at Le Bourget.

Meanwhile, manufacturers need more than a few square meters to display planes. For instance aircraft maker Sukhoi is paying more than $US 2 MLN for its spot.

But market watchers say it is a price worth paying.

“The prestige of MAKS is increasing and this is connected with the growing Russian economy, with the growth of business interests in military and civil aviation with Russia being one of the strongest countries in this sphere. That is why it is prestigious to be a participant,” explained Elena Sakhnova, an analyst from Deutsche Bank.

Traditionally, MAKS is a place for business sensations and several companies have already hinted at possible deals.

Sukhoi will announce its joint venture with Italy's Finmeccanica – the company will supply spare parts for Sukhoi's first civil aircraft, the SuperJet 100. This time not only military jets are in focus, but passenger ones as well. 

And analysts expect deals not just with European partners. They call India and China Russia's strategic partners.

China seems to be ready for co-operation, sending a delegation of up to 500 people.

Others have already made up their minds. Russian airline Transaero is expected to sign up for ten SuperJets from Sukhoi.

Meantime, Sukhoi has already sold six fighter jets at MAKS 2007 – three Su-27s and as many Su-30s to Indonesian Air Force.

Leasing company Ilyushin Finance has signed deals totalling half a billion dollars with State Transportation Company Rossia and Airlines 400, a Moscow-based airline.

And the Russian space agency Roscosmos has agreed to a partnership deal with the European Space Agency to build a new kind of spacecraft that will supply the International Space Station.

“We have been discussing how we can co-operate in the construction of a space transport system which will not only reach Earth's orbit including the International Space Station but will go as far as the Moon and Mars. Joint Russian-European discussions are due to start in September. And by the end of 2007 we are supposed to draw up guidelines of our future co-operation,” commented Anatoly Perminov, head of Federal Space Agency Roscosmos.

Increased government funding is seen as the key to developing the Russian space industry. Experts say Russia once again sees space as an important part of its future.

“When in the beginning of 1990s we started International Corporation, we were getting around 90% of our total enterprise income from international co-operation. The government’s financing was only 10%. As for now, I would say it is fifty-fifty. Certainly, the authorities are paying much more attention to the space now. Speaking about new technologies, we are also getting enough government support. There will be some surprises,” Sergey Anisimov, Director of Khrunichev Space Centre, said.