Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov: As the deputy prime minister in charge of the aviation sector, and as chairman of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) board of directors, I made the main report today.
The main bottleneck in UAC’s work at the moment is production of civilian aircraft. It is shameful to say that only 7 civilian aircraft were produced in 2010. True, with the start of series production of the Sukhoi Superjet, we are expecting delivery of 27 civilian planes in 2011.
As for military aviation, the Defence Ministry and defence sector in general place their main hopes on implementation of the state arms procurement programme that has just been approved. You already know the planned spending for this programme. Of the planned funds, more than 3 trillion rubles [around $105 billion] will be spent on aviation, planes, helicopters, and aviation-related weapons. We will continue to give priority to developing aviation as one of the key components of our defence capability.
UAC also has a specific development plan for military transport aviation – the Il-476. There is a lot of demand for this plane from our carriers, and from the global market. The plane has been remodelled now and has a glass cockpit, new engine, and will be 1.5 metres longer and thus able to transport a greater load. We had to move the plane’s production facilities from Tashkent to Ulyanovsk. This has been done now, and the plane will go into series production at the end of next year.
We have a very promising project with India. We are developing very broad cooperation in all areas where it makes sense and is possible, and this is certainly the case in civil aviation, and as you see from the military transport example, in military areas too, and this is reflected in our joint projects.
The Sukhoi Superjet uses a Russian-French engine, and a number of leading world aviation companies took part in designing the plane, just as our people were involved in designing the Boeing Dreamliner. This is a global market after all, and so this is only natural and is the only road forward.
As far as the airports go, Transport Minister [Igor] Levitin reported today, not without some pride, that the number of airports in Russia stopped decreasing for the first time since 1991. Of course, we still have many airports currently in a state of neglect, especially in regions where planes remain the only means of getting from one place to another, and 13 of our country’s regions are in this category.
The solution here is not new: we need to establish state-owned enterprises in this area and provide direct state aid, subsidies, to support these enterprises and local airports.
If we do not do this, our local air transport services will simply vanish altogether, especially in the Far North. This would place a huge burden on Moscow’s airports, with more than half of all passengers flying to Moscow not because they need to come to Moscow, but in order to get connecting flights.
This means that we need to build more new and modern regional airports. To be fair, such airports have emerged over these last years: Koltsovo in Yekaterinburg, for example, Tolmachyovo in Novosibirsk, and we will have a modern new airport ready by the time the APEC summit takes place in Vladivostok [in 2012]. Thus, a network of major airport hubs is beginning to take shape from east to west across the country now.
Finally, there is the question of radar control of air traffic, and here we need to upgrade equipment, reduce the number of echelons, and form a unified air traffic control and management system. Actually, we already have this system in place through unifying the former military and civilian air traffic controllers into a single system. This system is essential for developing the aviation sector of course, and here the important thing is to develop the system’s technical capabilities and use new technology, including GLONASS.