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China’s Civil Aviation Administration re;eased its latest (13th) five year plan on February 3.   In this plan there are five areas of focus:

  • sustained safety of civil aviation,
  • building a national integrated airport system,
  • comprehensively improving aviation service capability,
  • strengthening support and service quality of air traffic management and
  • speeding up transition through reform and innovation.

Of these items some caught our eye.  For example, “The second target is to enhance the strategic role of civil aviation to continuously raise its contribution to the national economy and further increase the proportion of air transport in the integrated transport system”.  Then there was this: “The third target is to comprehensively enhance the support capability of civil aviation. A well-planned and efficient airport network consisting of about 260 transport airports will be built.”

These issues are of special interest in light of something CAAC announced last year called Rule 96.  Details are… Continue reading

News from Russia today must be music to the corporate ears at UAC.  After the recent tragic crash on Christmas day, we were not alone in thinking the Russian Air Force’s fleet of TU-154s were a cause for concern.  The Defense Ministry and UAC are in talks.

The challenge as explained in the link above is that only some 20 aircraft need to be replaced.  These aircraft need to make use of military airports that do not always have long, paved and clean runways.  Take a look at this as an example.  As suggested, these requirements might limit use of the SSJ100 which otherwise would be a natural place to start.  Even the older, but readily available TU-214 likely will also be constrained by some military airports.

Since the options are few, it seems that the Russian government will have to end up deploying a mix of the TU-214 and… Continue reading

A report from Russia suggests that testing at TsAGI is being delayed because of missing parts (“shortfall of structural elements”) for the test vehicle.  It seems the missing parts come from AeroComposite – Ulyanovsk and are being shipped by truck.  The parts apparently were meant to be shipped on October 25.  The distance from Ulyanovsk to Moscow, where TsAGI is based is about 550 miles.

If TsAGI starts its tests late, almost certainly the first flight will be pushed back.  Thinking the first flight would be coming late this year or early next year now may be unrealistic.  Perhaps late spring or early summer seems more likely.

But, even so, one might consider that UAC could still have the aircraft at Paris for the 2017 summer show.  That would be playing the same card as Embraer did at Farnborough this year.  It is ambitious, but almost certainly there is… Continue reading

Russia’s next big aircraft program after the SuperJet is the mid-sized MC-21.  Seating up to 211, the MC-21 is seen as a competitor to the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737.  Although a technically promising aircraft, market realities make the program hard to move forward.

irkut-mc-21

It seems the development cost of the program is similar to that of western programs.  But the reality of Russian/Western politics is making the financials a lot more difficult to work out. UAC, and its IRKUT subsidiary, are becoming creative.
Russian business daily Vedomosti reports that the Russian Ministry of Commerce and UAC, together with leasing companies, and the Russian Ministry of Economic Development are discussing government support for the MC-21 program. They would commit 20bn Rub ($320m at current rates) until 2020 according to three different sources. But this scheme depends on many variables such as the commercial plan and leasing rates during a… Continue reading

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