The technological backlash in Russian commercial aviation took a further turn this week with the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s proposal to allocate 15.4 billion rubles (about $300 million) to restoring 11 aging jets to flying conditions.
According to the Interfax agency, the amount will be used to restore the airworthiness of eight Tupolev Tu-204/214 models, two Il-96 widebodies and an Antonov An-124 freighter that belong to the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), the conglomerate that controls the main Russian aerospace companies.
Part of the funds is intended for “modernization of the Tu-214’s systems and units with subsequent approval of the main change to the aircraft’s type certificate,” said an Interfax source, who did not explain what will be done with the fleet after it is recovered.
Faced with the prospect that part of the Western aircraft fleet will stop flying due to lack of spare parts after the sanctions against the invasion of Ukraine, Russia is embarking on an emergency plan to re-establish the production of aircraft conceived in the period of the Soviet Union.
As they do not have Western equipment, the planes can be a temporary solution while more advanced models such as the MC-21 are not adapted to use only Russian or Chinese components.
The Tu-204/214 is a single-aisle jet similar to the Boeing 757, with a capacity of up to 215 passengers while the Il-96 is a derivative of the four-engine widebody Il-86. Both are set to return to series production, according to Russian media reports.