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Russia Eyes Easing Imports Of Western Aircraft To Improve Safety

The latest crash of a Yakovlev Yak-42 will likely have serious consequences for the Russian aviation industry. To improve safety, President Dmitry Medvedev and his government plan to make the acquisition of Western aircraft easier while drastically reducing the number of airlines and overhauling the flight safety oversight system.

Russian Industry Eyes New Space Concepts 

China and India may be viewed as hotbeds for emergent space programs, but Russia is not quite ready to play second fiddle. Instead, industry is pushing the government to stay at the forefront of both rocket launcher and human spaceflight design activities.

What is more, the efforts are focused on consolidating the country's hold on space activity, including launch facilities. Self-sufficiency is stressed, as is the lessening of dependence on the Baikonour, Kazakhstan launch site.

Slow Going For Russian Commercial Aerospace Recovery 

The Russian aerospace industry has big plans for its commercial aircraft sector, but bringing them to fruition is proving difficult.

United Aircraft Corp. (OAK) Chief Executive Mikhail Pogosyan argues that “in 10 years we could become one of the top three leaders in aircraft manufacturing, with balanced presence in all three main segments,” including commercial airliners. By 2025, he hopes that OAK—which combines Russia's aircraft makers under one umbrella—can capture up to 10% of the world commercial aircraft market.

Russia’s Geo-IK-2 Is Launched IntoWrong Orbit 

A new Russian launch mishap may force planners to reconsider the priorities of the country’s ongoing space overhaul.

Russian Dual-Use Satellite Misses Its Orbit 

MOSCOW — The Russian Geo-IK-2 military satellite intended for geodetic measurements was delivered to an incorrect orbit by a Rockot launch vehicle with a Briz-KM upper stage on Feb. 1.

The spacecraft, designed by ISS Reshetnev, was launched from Plesetsk Cosmodrome at 5 p.m. Moscow time. The first two stages of the Rockot reportedly worked properly, then the Briz-KM upper stage with the satellite attached lost radio contact with mission controllers, who could not find the satellite in its planned position during its next orbit.

Russia Implements New Security Regime After Airport Bombing 

The death toll from what Russian authorities are calling a terrorist attack at Moscow Domodedovo Airport yesterday was 35 with another 152 wounded, according to U.S. and European news reports.

The blast, apparently set off by a suicide bomber, occurred in the international arrivals area near baggage claim at about 4:32 p.m. local time Monday, Jan. 24, according to Russian news agencies.

Russian Passenger Traffic Rises 

Russian airlines’ cumulative passenger traffic reached almost 57 million passengers in 2010, according to Transport Ministry preliminary data. This is a 26% increase from recession-depressed 2009 results, and a 14% increase from the 2008 level.

Aeroflot Faces Superjet Delay, 777 Order Is Near 

Aeroflot is pressing ahead with fleet renewal plans even as the carrier faces the reality that one of its new aircraft, the Superjet 100, will miss its 2010 delivery target.

Aeroflot Targets 13 Million Passengers In 2011 On Strong Operations Growth 

Aeroflot’s board of directors has set a target for the airline to reach the 13-million-passenger level next year, requiring 27.7% growth.

Also on the agenda are boosting load factor to 76% and increasing revenue passenger kilometers by 23%.

The airline group, including its Donavia and Nordavia subsidiaries, has seen 23% revenue growth in the first nine months to $3.2 billion with a net profit of $281 million (up 65%), the airline reports. The financial report indicates an across-the-board improvement in operations.

Proton Failure Interrupts Glonass Replenishment 

PARIS and MOSCOW — A Proton M Block DM rocket failed on Dec. 5, sending its payload of three Glonass satellites crashing into the Pacific.

Russian space agency Roscosmos says the rocket failed to achieve its intended orbit and an inquiry has been opened to investigate the cause . But the agency, prime contractor Khrunichev and International Launch Services, which markets commercial versions of the Proton M, all declined to offer specifics.

High Taxes Force Low-Fare Airlines To Rethink Business Strategies 

Growth prospects in Russia’s low-fare airline sector aren’t what they used to be.

The sector suffered a blow after one of the key players, Avianova, was forced to reduce the seating capacity of its aircraft by more than 10% due to a loophole in the country’s new import regulations. Meanwhile, rival Sky Express is changing its business model after a year of problems.

Russian Air Traffic Control Introduces English 

Russian aviation authorities are planning to introduce new air traffic control communication rules for all international airports in Russia. Starting in March 2011, air traffic controllers and crews will communicate exclusively in English regardless of the national identity of the aircraft in the air. The new rules will increase the safety of operations, the head of Federal Agency of Air Transport, Alexander Neradko, said.

Russia Eyes Aeroflot Privatization Within Five Years 

Aeroflot and Moscow’s second-largest airport, Sheremetyevo, are among about 900 Russian state-owned companies earmarked for privatization in the next five years as the government seeks to reduce the country’s deficit.

Transport minister Igor Levitin says the privatizing of Aeroflot and Sheremetyevo is eyed for 2014-15, when consolidation of the airline and airport expansion will have boosted the value of both enterprises.

Russian Government Considers Aeroflot Privatization 

The Russian government is looking at privatization programs to be implemented in the next five years, which potentially could add $60 billion to the bottom line and reduce the state deficit.

Almost 900 companies are under consideration, including giant state-owned banks and leasing companies, oil-mining and electricity-generating and grid companies, railways and ocean ship operators. Also on the list are flag carrier Aeroflot and Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport. The privatization plan is expected to be approved this week.

Russia Replaces Soyuz TMA-20 Descent Module 

MOSCOW — Russian technicians are running electrical checks on the Soyuz TMA-20 capsule at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, after replacing its descent module as a precaution against damage it may have sustained in a rail mishap en route to the launch site.

A state commission decided to substitute the descent module from Soyuz TMA-21, which was essentially ready for shipment, after workers found the original module’s shipping container had been damaged during the trip from Moscow.

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