Russia Claims It’s Stepping Up Airliner Production


Russia says it’s stepping up production and development of domestic airliners in light of sanctions that have virtually grounded its fleet of Western-built aircraft and trapped dozens overseas. Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borosov said the main focus will be on MS-21 and SuperJet 100-seat airliners. “There has been no halt to the work of these enterprises and there will be none. Everyone is continuing work,” Borisov said, according to a government statement. “I stress again—we will press on with the implementation of our MS-21 and SSJ-100 flagship projects,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Russian government is tallying up the damage from Western sanctions and airspace closures and it’s considerable. Transport Minister Vitaly Savelyev said in statement that 78 Russian aircraft have been “seized” abroad although “stranded” might be a more accurate term. Most countries have closed their airspace to Russian aircraft so any that happened to be on the ground when the closures went into effect weren’t able to leave. Canada has further tightened its airspace closure to ban Russian humanitarian flights. On the first day of its airspace closure on Feb. 27, a scheduled Aeroflot flight from Miami to Moscow was labeled as a humanitarian flight to get its flight plan for Canadian airspace approved and it spent several hours under Nav Canada control.

The Russian government’s new law allowing airlines to re-register their leased Boeings and Airbuses in Russia is not getting a lot of takers. The airlines are worried about the long-term consequences of them essentially stealing billions of dollars’ worth of aircraft. Russia claims that about 800 of the country’s 1,367 airliners have been re-registered and the 567 left roughly equates to the number of shiny 787s, A350s and others that are leased from Western companies, although no breakdown of the numbers was provided.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. With all of the Boeing and Airbus airliners used by Russian airlines would not be surprised to eventually see Russian built clones of those airplanes. Would not be the first time the Soviets/Russians have done that.

    • D grow up. It can’t be done! You can follow the design ethos, but to copy is impossible (at least economically) in this day and age!

    • If you look up the specs at least half of the parts in the 21 are made outside of Russia and are on the sanctions list. Russia is blowing smoke. Putin has managed to ruin his country in one month. It will take them decades to get back where they were if ever.

  2. The Tupolev Tu-4 was reverse-engineered from the B-29 Superfortress. In service from the late 40s through the mid-60s. Stalin would not accept any changes, demanding exact copy.

    • That is what Stalin wanted, but not what he got. To copy exactly was impossible for a whole host of reasons. On top of that the Tu-4 used home-grown engines!!

  3. We should encourage Putin to do this as it will divert resources from his war machine for very little, if any, immediate return!

  4. According to Wikipedia the MS-21 is a narrow body (single aisle), not a “wide body” as was reported in the article.

  5. Oh great, Russian aircraft were never known for their “build -quality” before, and now they’re going to expedite manufacturing? What could go wrong.

    Several years ago an avionics shop I do business with told me they were working on a pair of Mig 29’s, installing civilian radios as these planes were making the rounds at airshows in Canada and the U.S. he’d been crawling up inside these aircraft for a week or so. He was laughing and said “I have no idea why we feared these guys for so long, the build quality is horrible everywhere”. He cited the landing gear doors which he said looked as though they had been hand-shaped in a form using a peening hammer – Mach two aircraft.

  6. Have flown the 29 yrs ago – FL620 & burners to M2.
    As a pilot & mech, I must say it is very well built & very responsive with the fly-by-wire system.
    How could you NOT fear a Mach2 machine that can carry tones of armament?
    just sayin

    • BB that ride sounds like it was a blast. There is no question the soviet stuff is formidable, it was more of a lighthearted comment on his part, just a chuckle.

      Having said that, after digging a bit into the reasons that the proposed Polish swap of mig 29’s to Ukraine isn’t likely to happen, is in part, because the airplanes didn’t age well. Half of Poland’s Mig 29’s are being cannibalized for parts, only half of their registered aircraft are airworthy. The Ukrainians wouldn’t be able to keep them in the air for a lack of parts.