A Sukhoi accident casts doubt on Russia’s civil-aviation plans

JUST BEFORE the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the Soviet Union built 150 airliners a year, around a fifth of the world’s total. By 2000 that number had fallen to almost nothing. In 2006 Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, nationalised United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) and asked it to develop a commercial jet. When the slender, fuelefficient silhouette of the Sukhoi SuperJet was unveiled in 2007, Sergei Ivanov, Russia’s first deputy prime minister of the day, told foreign investors that it was “more than a plane”. It was meant to restore Russia’s glory in the civil-aircraft business.

On May 5th these high hopes took a knock when one such aircraft caught fire and crash-landed at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow. At least 41 of the 78 people onboard died. Investigators have not yet reached any conclusions about what caused the tragedy. Sukhoi, the UAC’s civil-aircraft arm which makes the plane, extended “its profound condolences for the families and friends of the victims”.

Before the accident UAC was aiming to increase its share of global revenues from civilian aircraft, from 17% in 2017 to 40% by 2025. The target now looks unreachable. Yet even beforehand Sukhoi had been making only slow progress towards it. The company has grabbed 20% of the global market for regional jets and secured a similar number of orders as...

via Business Feeds

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