The MAKS 2013 air show near Moscow was not without political intrigue. Ukrainian producers were once again hostages to the deterioration of relations between Ukraine and Russia. For example, the projects that Ukrainian and Russian enterprises are implementing jointly came under scrutiny from Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin in a number of radical statements. That notwithstanding, the management of the Antonov state enterprise believes that radical steps do not benefit either side and, therefore, cooperation will continue despite the information battle.
What is the outcome of the MAKS 2013 air show for Antonov?
Antonov introduced three aircraft at MAKS 2013: the AN-70 military transport aircraft with short takeoff and landing, the AN-158 regional jet aircraft, and the AN-2-100, which is a new modification of the AN-2, as well as a number of other promising programs. They attracted a lot of attention. Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Yurii Boiko visited the MAKS 2013 air show on August 28. He inspected the AN aircraft displayed at the air show and familiarized himself with our exponents. A number of talks were held with industrial enterprises and government agencies in Russia, other CIS countries, India, Iran, and Cuba with the aim of broadening cooperation on creation, production, and provision of after-sales support for aircraft, as well as on delivery of AN aircraft to the markets of these countries.
Several events were associated with the AN-148 and AN-158 families of aircraft. During the MAKS 2013 air show, Cuba’s Cubana de Aviacion airline company took delivery of a third AN-158 aircraft, which was displayed at the air show. Agreements for supply of three more AN-158 to the airline company in 2014 were signed on the same day. Our partners - the Ilyushin Finance Co. leasing company (IFC) and the Angara airline company - concluded a preliminary agreement on financial lease of two AN-148-100E aircraft. This airline company already has three such aircraft in its fleet, successfully operating them on inter-regional lines in Siberia. In addition, according to information received from our partners, a consolidated order for the AN-148 and AN-158 is being prepared in Russia.
Did the AN-2 remotorization project attract any interest?
Yes. The issue of remotorization of the AN-2 is important to those using it, including Russia, where there are 1,580 of these aircraft, of which only 322 are airworthy. Given the unique technical and flight characteristics of the AN-2 and its suitability for all types of airdromes, it is simply necessary for the development of the northern and eastern regions of the Russian Federation. The program for conversion of the AN-2 into the AN-2-100 is one of our joint projects under the cooperation agreement with the government of the Ulyanovsk region that was signed at the MAKS 2013 air show. This program is has also become a new stage in our relations with Cuba. We have signed an agreement under which the Cuban Aviation Corporation will create a production base for conversion of the country's existing fleet of AN-2 aircraft (about 140 such aircraft were delivered to Cuba) into AN-2-100.
What is the situation involving serial production of the AN-70?
Establishment of mass production of the AN-70 is a crucial task for implementation of this project. Most of the joint state tests have been completed and the aircraft as confirmed its characteristics, allowing us to launch its production. The plan was to start its construction in Kazan. This project was supported at the highest political level in Russia. A scheme for production cooperation has been agreed. We have started the process of transferring the design documentation to the Russian side.
A few countries - serious partners - want to produce the AN-70 at their own facilities
However, all these works are currently on hold. Unfortunately, this delay is adversely affecting the competitiveness of the AN-70. After all, aircraft of this class exist in America and Europe today, although the AN-70 is superior to its competitors in a number of characteristics, as already confirmed by the testing of the aircraft. I am talking primarily about its short takeoff/landing and the range of goods it can transport. Currently, the AN-70 is being preparing for performance of the final phase of the joint state tests, the program of which is designed for 82 flights.
Who can become Ukraine’s partner in the AN-70 project if Russia withdraws?
It should be noted that there is currently no official Russian withdrawal from participation in the project. We hope to create, operate, and develop this efficient tactical military transport aircraft with our Russian partners. Both our countries would benefit from such cooperation because this this program is mutually beneficial. However, several countries - serious partners - want to produce the AN-70 at their own facilities.
When will a joint venture be established with the Samara-based Aviakor for production of the AN-140? Did any new potential customers of this aircraft emerge during the air show?
On August 27, 2013, the opening day of the MAKS 2013 air show, we signed with the Aviakor Aircraft Plant a "roadmap" for creation of a joint venture under the program for development of the AN- 140 aircraft family. The main goal of this project is to develop an effective strategy for joint implementation of a program for development of the AN-140 family in line with the interests of the participating parties. The "roadmap" provides for establishment of a working group of experts consisting of experts from the companies participating in the joint venture with the aim of preparing a number of documents required for the progress of the AN-140 program, including a draft business plan. Justifications will be prepared for formulation of the decisions of the Ukrainian and Russian government agencies on the need to create the joint venture, as well as for provision of state support for implementation of the program by the two countries. This work is expected to take about six months. As for customers, interest in the AN-140 is high enough, primarily from the countries operating the AN-24 family of aircraft. It also attracted the attention of air carriers during the MAKS 2013 air show.
In your view, what are the prospects for the IL-112 project?
The IL-112 is an aircraft of the AN-26 type, which has recommended itself very well. I will also note that the validation procedure for the initial type certificate for the AN-26 aircraft was performed in 2009 based on European standards and at the initiative of the European operators of this aircraft. The AN-26 received an EASA certificate. This is another confirmation that aircraft of this class are in demand. Antonov, for its part, is offering as replacement for the AN-26 the AN-140 transport aircraft, which is being created in conjunction with our partners in the program – the Aviakor Aircraft Plant (Samara). We can talk about the prospects of the IL-112 when it begins to fly.