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Russian air companies may be prohibited from importing used aircraft

November 20, 2013, 17:20 UTC+3 20

Lawmakers are also elaborating a strategy of financial support for air companies using domestically produced carriers

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MOSCOW, November 20. /ITAR-TASS/. The crash of the US-made Boeing 737-500 at Kazan’s international airport in Tatarstan may be followed by a ban on import of used aircraft and may stimulate Russian air companies to buy domestically produced jets, according to Vladimir Gutenev, First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Industry, First Vice-President of the Russian Engineering Union and President of the League of Assistance to Defense Enterprises.

Gutenev in an interview discussing measures taken to prevent future crashes told the Russian newspaper Izvestia that the State Duma was working on a set of measures which may restrict air carriers' imports onto the Russian market. Numbers involved were not decided yet, he said.

“We are also elaborating a strategy of financial support for air companies using domestically produced carriers," Gutenev added. "We actually mean not direct investments but more attractive leasing conditions.

"For example, if after five years of use, an air company returns or sells to third world countries a financially leased aircraft, the next leasing will be cheaper, providing that the first aircraft is of domestic production,” the politician said. Every additional year of operation would give the company smaller leasing discounts, however.

This meant that if a company sold a seven-year-old aircraft abroad, discounts would be much smaller. If the plane reached 10 years of service and was still flying, the company would have to make so many tests and diagnostics to prolong its use that it would not be profitable.

Methods of economic stimulation would force air carriers to renew their fleets every 5-7 years, raising competitive ability of Russian air companies and increasing the quality of domestic aircraft equipment, Gutenev said.

Asked whether Russia's aviation industry could produce planes able to compete with western rivals on fuel flow and flight distance, the MP said Russia was competitive already, referring to the Sukhoi Superjet, the modern and fuel-efficient aircraft produced in co-operation with French constructors.

Even Mexican air companies preferred Superjet to the American Boeing despite their close geographic location to the United States, proving Russian aircraft sufficiently competitive.

Gutenev said Russia's aircraft industry was constructing a prospective new MC-21 aircraft with a compound wing, which had already been shown at the plenary session of a presidential committee on general purpose aviation in Ulyanovsk. Russia's aircraft industry was ready to push the boundaries, he added.

The politician said microchips were recommended for insertion in all aircraft components, which would not only make their identification easier but also eliminate risks of counterfeit parts being used.

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