The Air Travel War Over Russia


ALERT:  Sourced from Russian State-Controlled Media

by Roman Skomorokhov,

The case when you want to say with satisfaction the sacramental phrase: “But we warned you!”. Indeed, we have repeatedly raised the topic of what is happening in our civilian aviation. And there for the last 30 years, there has been total degradation and squalor, moreover, with the official consent of government circles.

And here – get it and sign it.

For my part, after so many materials have been written about the need to revive the domestic aircraft industry, I would like to ask those who calmly took compensation from Boeing and Airbus: well, what will you do next?

But let’s start from the beginning. With a declaration of war in the air.

The war has really begun. Planes, however, do not shoot down, but they do not allow to take off. Both the United States and the European Union almost simultaneously closed their flight corridors for Russian aircraft. Both passenger and transport.

Russia reacted immediately, responding in kind. The ban on flights of aircraft from 37 countries is no less sensitive since now flights from Europe to East Asia will become a very difficult task, since not only will the duration of flights increase, but also it will be necessary to redraw all logistics anew, flying around Russia and making, if necessary, intermediate landings not in Moscow, Krasnodar or Novosibirsk, but somewhere else. But with this “somewhere else” it is necessary to agree, to carve out places and windows for ourselves, to get everything necessary for servicing flights. Fortunately, modern aircraft can fly nonstop for quite long distances.

Well, the fact that now a plane on a flight, for example, London-Tokyo, does not fly for 11 hours and 25-40 minutes, but for 14 hours and 20-50 minutes – well, this will only affect passengers and ticket prices. Transpolar flights from the USA and Canada to Asia have approximately the same difficulties.

But that was only the beginning.

The next number of the European program was the requirement of European companies in relation to Russian airlines to return all leased Airbus aircraft. Naturally, Boeing supported the partners and demanded the same.

An interesting point arose: how were Russian companies supposed to return planes to Europeans and Americans if all of Europe and the USA are a continuous no-fly zone?

What Russian companies did in the current situation is probably the most reasonable thing that could be done. The planes are still on the ground, but the Europeans and Americans have been billed for their storage. Of course, no one wants to pay, because the demand for payment for storage is a blow below the belt. A very expensive business.

Realizing that everything was sad, the Europeans, followed by the Americans, immediately broke all contracts for the supply of spare parts and components for aircraft. Moreover, not only for Boeing and Airbus but also for the “Russian” MS-21-300 and SSJ 100, which automatically removed the planes of the Yakovlev and Sukhoi companies from the game.

All service and repairs were discontinued. The answer was the nationalization of all leased aircraft in Russia. Not that it’s a “soft spin”, but, as they say, “if such a booze has gone …”.

In general, the situation is not the best. The fleet, which will be nationalized, can be used exclusively on domestic airlines. In any case, such an aircraft abroad in unfriendly and not quite friendly (that is, in most) countries will be immediately arrested. So all that remains for the requisitioned European and American aircraft are domestic flights.

Compensation at the expense of the airlines of friendly countries may not work either. Kazakhstan, in the conditions of Russia’s exclusion from the international insurance system, does not yet know how to fly in the current conditions.

And what do we end up with?

Not very happy. Only aircraft owned by Russian airlines will be able to fly abroad. This is about two hundred aircraft. Those that are on the lease (777 units in number) will fly only on domestic flights.

What tomorrow? Where can you get everything you need to service almost eight hundred aircraft, which will soon simply stop flying due to lack of repair and maintenance? It is clear that not immediately, it is clear that there is a certain amount of consumables in Russia, but 777 aircraft is a lot.

China has already refused to supply spare parts for Russian aircraft. You can understand the Chinese, it is unrealistic to buy spare parts for seven hundred aircraft “invisibly” so as not to fly into the sanctions from Boeing.

So if the situation continues, then all these Boeings and Airbuses will soon be back on the ground. And God forbid, not after a couple of disasters.

By the way, given how complex a modern aircraft is, there is a certain probability of outputting some electronic parts remotely. And our “partners” can easily do this. What for them are two or three hundred Russians who died in a plane crash …

Personally, I would not risk flying such a Boeing in a couple of years.

What tomorrow? Despite Putin’s optimistic “Let’s fly!”, there is no certainty about this. The only seemingly 100% Russian MS-21-310 is only being tested, and when the aircraft actually goes into production, it’s hard to say. And the Yakovlevsky aircraft will not solve all the problems that, as the Boeings and Airbuses fail, will grow like an avalanche.

Are we going back to the past?

What is under this? And our “oldies”, Tu-204/214, Il-96-300, Tu-334. They have everything for them, moreover, a number of these aircraft are in storage and they can be put into operation. Yes, not God knows what, but already something. Moreover, these are purebred Russian aircraft.

But there is an obstacle. Unfortunately, according to many who are not indifferent, it is called UAC: United Aircraft Manufacturing Company. So many materials have already been written by journalists on the topic that everything is sad in the aircraft industry, that it is necessary to resolve the issues of import substitution, which exists only in the bravura reports of officials, that you involuntarily begin to understand that no one needs all this.

Especially figures in the KLA.

More than 15 years have passed since all the surviving aircraft manufacturing enterprises were merged into one corporation. So what?

And nothing.

It can be said that the UAC is almost coping with military orders. In addition to transport aircraft, which are a complete disaster. They simply don’t exist. The production of military transport and civilian aircraft has been steadily declining, from 41 aircraft in 2017 to 19 units in 2021. Yes, of course, the crisis, the pandemic and all that.

But in fact, the UAC leadership is unable to cope with the growing problems. Simply because the main problem of the UAC is the lack of competent workers in the upper echelons.

I will allow myself to take out of the context of the speech of the first vice-president of the UAC Sergey Yarkovy the phrase that the UAC “… is building up competencies in the construction of military transport aircraft …”. Verbiage about nothing in the style of Mrs. Nabiullina.

It is not “competencies” that should be increased, but the production of aircraft. But the direction of transport aviation, headed by Mr. Yarkov, last year failed everything that was possible, releasing TWO (!!!) Il-76MD-90A aircraft. Two of the ordered twelve “for the first time.” In general, the Minister of Defense Shoigu set the task of increasing the production to 10 aircraft per year, since the Il-76MD-90A is in high demand both in the structures of the Defense Ministry and in the Ministry of Emergency Situations.

The result is null.

As many as 12 pieces of SSJ 100. On a national scale – you yourself understand. The SSJ 100 New version with domestic engines and avionics should appear only in 2024. As far as the UAC understands the term “debt”, we are already aware. On the example of the same IL-112V.

The most unpleasant thing is that the domestic aircraft industry has potential. Strange, but even in modern conditions, there are still opportunities to create new aircraft and build them. But for this it is necessary to WORK, and, moreover, to everyone, from those responsible for the direction in the government to the “effective” leaders of the KLA.

Perhaps then, finally, the issue with the Il-96-400 / Il-96-400M will be resolved. They are trying to literally push the plane into the first flight, but something is preventing this all the time. Yes, a four-engine aircraft is not as economical and competitive (the question is with whom?) with twin-engine aircraft, but it exists, and for it there are completely Russian-made PS-90A-1 engines.

Well, why is it that only the president of Russia can fly on such a good plane as the IL-96, proven and reliable? Why are all other citizens unfit?

The next round with the Il-96-400M should be completed in 2022. The Voronezh VASO plant is ready to work day and night to provide the country with aircraft. There are still competent workers, not everyone was dispersed by the market. Others will come if the plant starts to operate at full capacity. And full capacity is up to 20 wide-body aircraft per year, capable of transporting people throughout the country and beyond.

MS-21 is a no less long-suffering project that has been fought over in Irkutsk for so many years. First, the MS-21 was deprived of composites for the wings, then avionics and engines. Yes, it turned out that you can install both engines and avionics. Well, who said that flight and navigation systems from bombers are not suitable (with a certain demilitarization) for civilian aircraft?

In Irkutsk, engineers and specialists once again perform miracles of industrial heroism, reshaping and redesigning aircraft. But the new MS-21-310 is again delayed with access to the sky. And the word “again” – is already beginning to strain.

And in the end, we landed very hard. So far, at least, it is not clear what will happen next. Maybe everything will end together with the special operation, or maybe in Europe and the USA, they will want to stand their ground to the last.

In any case, Russia simply has to become independent now. Just in case, for the future, call it whatever you want. But all these fairy tales about world integration must be ended. This is not integration, this is slave dependence, which, obviously, slave owners can stop at any time at will.

It is possible to overcome the long-term stagnation in the aviation industry in Russia with only one radical step – to replace the entire leadership of the UAC at once, or maybe even to eliminate this structure altogether. Tupolev, Ilyushin, Yakovlev and Sukhoi worked before, without this ugly superstructure populated by expensive loafers who could not put two words together, not to mention work.

We need people who understand, with a technical and especially with an aviation technical education. “Effective” managers with HSE diplomas have already ruined everything in the country that could be ruined. It’s time to start restoring so that President Putin’s words that we will fly will not remain empty promises.

Of course, throwing out all the efficient idlers doesn’t mean solving all problems in one fell swoop. But this way you can give our aircraft industry a chance to survive and work without relying on handouts from the West. And if you leave everything as it is, of course, there will be no chance, no planes.



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