aDminFr3, Автор в Noord Connect
Imagine the speed


Russia is considering ramping up two of its Soviet-era aircraft programs, the Ilyushin Il-96 and the Tupolev Tu-214.

According to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov, the reserve capabilities of the production may be activated.

“Together with our colleagues from the transport bloc we are finishing the analysis of the needs and the priority measures. Based on the picture we get, we may activate the reserve of additional production of these aircraft,” Borisov is quoted as saying by Russian news agency Ria Novosti.

Production of the two aircraft has been on the back burner for the last decade, with just several aircraft produced every year.

The Ilyushin Il-96 is a four-engine wide-body aircraft developed in the 1980s based on the Il-86. Approximately 30 Il-96s have been produced since 1988, most of which have been used by Russian military and the country’s governmental fleet.

In 2015, Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) announced the development of the Il-96-400M, a vastly upgraded variant intended as a stop-gap measure before the Chinese-Russian CRAIC CR292 becomes available, and also as a possible competitor to Western long-range airliners such as the Boeing 777 and the Airbus A350.

However, in mid-2021, UAC cancelled the Il-96-400M, announcing that no commercial orders were received, and the two prototypes are to be turned into airborne command posts (‘doomsday planes’) by the Russian aerospace forces.

The Tupolev Tu-214 is a variant of the Tu-204 narrow-body airliner from the late 1980s. Roughly comparable to the Boeing 757, the Tu-204 was expected to become the Soviet Union’s primary mid-range airliner. However, only 98 aircraft were produced.

The Tu-214 was developed in the mid-1990s and features an increased maximum take-off weight (MTOW) and fuel capacity in comparison with a regular Tu-204. While several older Tu-204s remain in use with Russian, North Korean and Cuban airlines, only the Russian military and the governmental fleet uses Tu-214s.

AeroComposit, a subsidiary of Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), has commenced work on the airframe for the CR929, the Chinese-Russian airliner. Reportedly, the company has just begun producing the wing for the wide-body jet.

The news was revealed on November 19, 2021, at Composites without borders, an online forum for Russian composite materials manufacturers, reports.

In a post on the forum, deputy general director of Irkut, Anatoly Gaydansky, wrote: “The production lines of the AeroComposit factory in Ulyanovsk are busy almost to 100%. The factory is working on two main projects. One of them is manufacturing the wings and the central box of the MC-21. […] The second one – manufacturing wings for the Russian-Chinese CR929.”

He continued: “We are working on the prototypes [of the CR929] and developing the manufacturing processes.”

In September 2021, production of the prototype officially began at COMAC’s factory in Linang, although it was not announced what part of the airliner would be manufactured at the site.

The CR929 was conceived as a Chinese-Russian co-production from the onset. Russia’s biggest contribution will be composite parts that make up most of the airframe, including the wings and the fuselage.

AeroComposit owns the main composite material production facilities in Russia. The company manufactures composite wings of the MC-21 airliner, as well as some parts for the SSJ New, an updated version of the SSJ100 regional jet.

The CR929 will be a long-range wide-body airliner designed to compete with Boeing and Airbus wide-body jets, primarily the787 Dreamliner and the A330neo.

The aircraft will be produced by CRAIC, a joint venture of China’s COMAC and Russia’s UAC.

The project was launched in 2014, but was slowed down by numerous difficulties. For most of 2020, COMAC and UAC were locked in a bitter confrontation over the sales rights of the aircraft, which caused delays and pushed back the jet’s first delivery dates to 2028-2029.

Ukraine is set to establish a new national airline called Ukrainian National Airlines (UNA), the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky announced during the Big Construction: Aviation and Tourism forum on November 25, 2021.

«In addition to the promises, we are moving to practical implementation — this is our national air carrier, its creation will be officially launched today. We are ready to invest in the air fleet, involve world leaders in joint projects,” Zelensky said.

During the forum, Airbus and the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU). The new document defines the algorithm for further cooperation of the parties in the framework of creating Ukraine’s new national airline, including the purchase of 22 aircraft.

«We see that in Ukraine, a country that has extremely great potential for tourism, business and any new opportunities, there is great potential for creating a new carrier,” Airbus Vice President for Europe and Central Asia Kimon Sotiropoulos commented in a statement.

Sotiropoulos remarked that Ukraine’s new flag-carrier will be established from scratch, which makes it possible to “immediately invest in new technologies, in a better fleet that will leave less carbon footprint, consume less fuel and therefore would be more environmentally friendly”.

Oleksandr Kubrakov, the Minister of Ukraine’s Ministry of Infrastructure, added: «This is the first step when we can start cooperating as two equal partners.”

DHL signed up for three Boeing 767-300 aircraft to be converted to freighters, including an extra fourth aircraft as an option, the company that will partake the conversions, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), announced on June 22, 2020.

The deal, which IAI indicated is “valued at tens of millions of dollars” comes at a time when the demand for cargo is ever-increasing, stated the Tel Aviv-based company. In total, DHL will receive three converted passenger-to-freighter converted aircraft, including one option, if the German company wishes to exercise it.

As of June 22, 2020, DHL owns 11 Boeing 767 freighters, 10 of which were converted from passenger aircraft, data shows.

While IAI stated that the demand for air cargo is on the rise, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) data showcases otherwise. The association’s latest numbers indicated that demand, measured in Cargo Ton Kilometers (CTK) fell by 27.7% in April 2020, compared to the same month in 2019. Despite the bleak number, capacity in the freight sector, measured in available Cargo Ton Kilometers (ACTK), dropped by 42%, meaning there is a gap of capacity for air freight.

At the same time, cargo companies like DHL have the advantage, as they operate freighters only. As passenger airlines grounded their aircraft and took away as much as 75% of belly cargo capacity in April 2020, this allowed freighter operators to push up their rates. IATA expects that the price for transferring cargo will increase as much as 30% for the year when compared to 2019.