August 2012

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The not so subtle intersection of Russian aircraft and politics

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In the same week as controversy stirred over President Nicolas Sarkozy purchasing an A330 for his presidential transport, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin decided a different path to cultivate his nation's goal of re-growing its domestic commercial aircraft production.

Civil aircraft manufacturing and national economic interests have a great historical tendency to intersect in ways that vary in their subtlety. That being said, I'll let you be the judge on which end of the subtlety spectrum this falls:
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian flagship airline Aeroflot expects to acquire 22 Boeing Dreamliners and 22 Airbus A350s by 2016 as it expands its fleet, CEO Vitaly Savelyev told Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

"We expect to receive 22 Dreamliners, that is the Boeing-787s, by 2016, and we also expect 22 aircraft of the Airbus-350 model, which is currently being developed, to enter into service," Savelyev said according to RIA news agency.

However, Putin urged the executive to purchase more locally-made planes.

"We are already purchasing them," Savelyev said in a portion of the interview broadcast on Russia-24 television.

"Not enough," the prime minister replied.
A Bloomberg Businessweek article on the same topic expanded on Putin's comments:
"I want to understand how much domestic technology Aeroflot will buy," Putin said in a meeting with Chief Executive Officer Vitaly Savelyev today. "You want to dominate the domestic market, but you don't want to buy Russian technology. That won't do."
Let's see how far the 162-passenger, Pratt & Whitney PW1000G-powered Irkut MS-21 is from finding its domestic launch customer. A meeting like this has but one outcome: 
Savelyev said he would report back to Putin with a revised plan.

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