Ilyushin Il-114 Dvurekov

Back to the Future: Russia Ready to Reenter the Passenger Plane Big Leagues

A quarter-century after the collapse of the Soviet Union, an event which resulted in the near-destruction of the country’s once-proud civil aviation industry, Russia is looking to resurrect its production of civilian aircraft, from the Sukhoi Superjet 100 to the Ilyushin Il-114, German newspaper Handelsblatt reports.

The newspaper notes that while the long-haul civil aviation market remains dominated, for the moment, by the big players, Airbus and Boeing, the mid-size, medium-range market, “i.e. that consisting of aircraft with a capacity of up to 130 passengers and a range up to 3,000 km,” is heating up, “with Canada’s Bombardier, Brazil’s Emraer and French-Italian concern ATR firmly establishing themselves.”

“And suddenly,” Handelsblatt notes, more contenders are “looking to join the game. This week the Japanese regional aircraft Mitsubishi Regional Jet made its first flight. Now Russia too, famous during the Soviet era for its Ilyushin, Tupolev and Yak aircraft, is looking to break into the market.”

The paper notes that modest progress has already been made with the Sukhoi Superjet 100, with over 200 orders placed, 50 of them with Aeroflot. Sukhoi has already delivered 21 of the aircraft to Russia’s flag carrier airline, even if Airbus and Boeing (with about 125 and 25 aircraft, respectively) still outnumber them percentage-wise in Aeroflot’s fleet. Incidentally, what the paper doesn’t mention is that the airline also has plans to purchase 50 Irkut MS-21 mid-range mid-size airliners, while orders for Airbus and Boeing amount to a combined 29.

Read more: Back to the Future: Russia Ready to Reenter the Passenger Plane Big Leagues

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