Russia Seeks New MRO Partners Amidst Pivot To Russian-Made Aircraft

Credit: Aviation Week Network

Russia’s pivot away from the West for aircraft and aviation services has progressed this week with plans for a huge order from Aeroflot for Russian-made aircraft and suggestions that the country will form a maintenance consortium with Iran, China and India.

According to business intelligence website Silk Road Briefing, Iran’s civil aviation head, Mohammad Bakhsh, has said that the four countries will cooperate to set joint standards for aircraft repair services.

He added that Iran had repaired six aircraft and several engines on behalf of foreign airlines this year, although the models were not specified.

Aeroflot has signed an agreement of intent to purchase 210 Irkut MC-21 narrowbodies, 89 additional Superjet regional jets and 40 Tupolev Tu-214 widebodies. Deliveries are slated to run from 2023-30, with the MC-21 to enter service in 2024.

“Historical changes are coming to civil aviation,” said Sergey Chemezov, the head of Rostec, Russia’s state-owned manufacturing conglomerate. “Boeing and Airbus aircraft, which are unlikely to ever be delivered to Russia again, will be replaced by Russian-made passenger aircraft.”

Chemezov also noted that all the aircraft would be manufactured with Russian systems and components, including the Aviadvigatel PD-14 powerplants.

However, most flight testing of the MC-21 has occurred with Pratt & Whitney engines, which, along with other Western components, are no longer available due to sanctions.

Whether revised testing can be completed for timely delivery to Aeroflot remains to be seen, but the in the interim the flag carrier will presumably run down its huge fleet of Airbus and Boeing aircraft, with the operational fleet steadily diminishing as the aircraft and engines are cannibalized for parts.

Alex Derber

Alex Derber, a UK-based aviation journalist, is editor of the Engine Yearbook and a contributor to Aviation Week and Inside MRO.