Russia is seeking to improve its competitiveness in the international aircraft market by rationalising the aviation businesses that operate under state holding company United Aircraft.
For commercial aircraft this will mean the consolidation of Irkut, manufacturer of the MC-21, and Sukhoi Civil Aircraft, manufacturer of the Sukhoi Superjet.
Centralised management under Yury Slyusar, president of UAC and new president of Irkut, will take over development and production of both aircraft, while Sukhoi Civil Aircraft will henceforth oversee marketing, sales and after-sales support of all civil aircraft produced by UAC.
“We are close to a situation where any project should involve all parts of the mechanism and the old structure is becoming less and less adequate to new challenges. We are not competing inside the country, as previously – we are competing globally with global players,” says Slyusar.
UAC expects the new structure to boost productivity, lower costs and streamline Russia’s efforts to reach civil aircraft output of 100-120 aircraft per year and take civil products to 45% of its portfolio by 2035. The conglomerate is also rationalising military, transport and special purpose aircraft production.
UAC adds that its restructuring will simplify certification and licensing procedures, and suggests that its engineering workforce will not be scaled back.
The projected aftermarket for the Sukhoi Superjet is anticipated to be $1.2 billion between now and 2026 according to Aviation Week’s 2017 Fleet & MRO Forecast. The newer MC-21, meanwhile, is anticipated to generate around $444 million in MRO spend for the same period.
While the elimination of overlapping layers of management makes sense, there is little evidence that a consolidated marketing team will improve MC-21 and Superjet sales outside Russia and CIS countries.
True, Sukhoi has had more success abroad than Irkut, but the Superjet has been on the market for far longer and it hasn’t picked up a non-Russian signature since its breakthrough European order in 2015 with Cityjet.