Copyright © BusinessAMBE 2023

Russian aircraft manufacturer United Aircraft Corporation assures that the first flight of its new long-haul aircraft, the IL-96-400M, was a success. Eventually, this aircraft should replace the Airbus A340 and Boeing 777, aircraft that Russia is no longer allowed to purchase.

By invading Ukraine, the Russian government has deprived its own country of many goods it no longer produces. For example, airplanes. The "hold-up of the century" (the 500 Western aircraft leased to Russian carriers and confiscated) kept the country afloat for a while. But the country is counting on a new national model.

First Russian passenger plane in 10 years

In the news: A prototype of the IL-96-400M long-haul aircraft has taken off for the first time, according to its manufacturer, Russian aviation giant United Aircraft Corporation. This aircraft is to replace the company's previous model, the IL-96-300. Its production, started in 1992, seems to have yielded 33 aircraft so far, but the last one is at least a decade old.

The gist: Last year, the Russian aviation industry announced plans to produce 1,000 passenger planes by 2030. A return to national production unprecedented since the fall of the Soviet Union, but explained simply by Russia's lack of access to the usual Airbus or Boeing aircraft.

The details: According to the company, the test flight went very well. Another message from the Kremlin would, of course, be surprising.

  • It lasted 26 minutes and reached altitudes of up to 2,000 meters and a speed of 390 kilometers per hour, according to a press release.
  • The final version of the plane, for which no deadline has been given, would be able to carry up to 370 passengers divided into three classes. A configuration similar to aircraft such as the Airbus A340 or Boeing 777.
  • "The first and successful flight of the modernized IL-96-400M is a demonstration of the highest level of competence of national aircraft manufacturers," cheered Russian Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov, reports CNN.

Massive "plane-jacking"

What preceded: The country seized about 500 aircraft that belonged to foreign companies and had been leased to Russian actors.

  • A massive "plane-jacking" worth $10 billion, but that is only temporarily valid . It is estimated that at least 100 aircraft were scrapped to feed the others with spare parts.
  • In May 2022, the European Parliament summoned Russia to return these aircraft because they were not only stolen, but also became dangerous due to lack of maintenance and spare parts. Moreover, without certification, they could no longer fly outside Russian airspace.
  • But the country didn't really have a choice. It had already lost 10 percent of its commercial aircraft, blocked abroad by European and U.S. sanctions.

The challenge: Murdo Morrison of the specialized news website FlightGlobal, however, does not believe in mass production: "Trying to restore Russia's pre-1990 aviation industry is a huge gamble. In fact, it will cost the state billions, although Moscow probably accepts that the political price is worth it and really has no choice."

One of the most dangerous countries to fly

One more thing: Last year, an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety audit placed Russian airspace on the list of countries with "inadequate regulatory oversight," a signal the country shares with Bhutan, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The new IL-96-400M would reportedly comply with international regulations, the manufacturer assures.


© The Content Exchange, source News