Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting on the development of civil aircraft engineering as part of the International Aviation and Space Salon MAKS.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.

Our meeting is taking place as part of the International Aviation and Space Salon MAKS-2017. I think this is a good venue for discussing the development of civil aircraft engineering. Incidentally, it is not the first time we are doing this.

We have just seen the latest designs from Russia’s leading producers of aviation and missile space technology. I must say the Russian companies’ potential is enormous and should be used in full.

For Russia the construction of competitive aircraft is one of the key conditions for easing access to remote regions and making air travel more comfortable.

For such a vast country as Russia with its, let’s be honest, poorly developed infrastructure, which has proved difficult to improve even during all the previous years of its history, considering the limitless expanses of Eastern Siberia and the Far East. However, it is vital to use modern technology to consolidate the country and make every corner equally accessible to every person regardless of his or her place of residence. People should be able to move easily and freely throughout the country, travel to our major industrial and cultural centres and return in the same easy and free way.

It is also important in this context to increase the production of high-tech, science-intensive products and promote the development of the entire national economy. Finally, this is a matter of the state’s technological prestige.

I would like to note that the industry is currently receiving substantial support. Last year alone, almost 52 billion rubles were allocated for these purposes under the Aviation Industry Development programme, and there are plans to allocate 60 billion in 2017.

These measures are yielding positive results. Last year, civil aircraft production grew by 21 percent on 2015. This is a good indicator.

At the same time, I am confident that the national aviation industry has the required technological and human potential for long-term growth, for strengthening its positions on the domestic and global markets.

We have mastered batch production of regional airliners. We have just seen the Sukhoi Superjet here. Other promising projects are being implemented involving civil aircraft that can compete with foreign equivalents, including the new Ka-62 helicopter and the MC-21 passenger airliner. We have seen the Ansat helicopter today. There are other highly promising and interesting aircraft, and demand for them will undoubtedly soar in the future.

Today, we will discuss various measures making it possible to support these projects and to address the entire industry’s tasks.

I would like to focus on the following.

First, the MC-21, which I have already mentioned, is currently undergoing flight tests. Today, I would like to hear how these tests are proceeding, to discuss the current aircraft certification stage and preparations to launch batch production of this airliner. I would like to focus on the aircraft’s certification, and I would like to note technical issues that we know about. Everything must proceed smoothly in this area.

Second, as you know, the United Instrument Manufacturing Corporation is expected to diversify and expand civil output. This also concerns the defence industry’s aircraft enterprises.

Helicopter deliveries under defence procurement contracts will soon peak. The Defence Ministry has already reduced its orders under these contracts. It is high time that we ponder ways to guarantee that the production capacities are utilised by creating demand from civilian customers. This should be done without delay. Among other things, Russian oil and gas companies, and other state-owned companies could play their part. They buy quite a few helicopters abroad. I believe that this has to change, as we have discussed with the heads of Russian companies. They should opt for Russian equipment, of course on the condition that it offers the same level or even better quality compared to similar imports. I think that this matter should be included in the agenda of the Government Import Substitution Commission.

Moving on, I would like to emphasise once again our intention to expand the market share of Russian aviation equipment on the domestic and international markets. For that, it is essential not only to improve its quality and reliability, but also to develop after-sales maintenance services. By the way this is also an issue for the defence industry: we need warehouses, spare parts, training, and we need to open service centres. We all know that those who are able to ensure after-sales maintenance, guarantee timely repairs and promptly deliver parts stay on top of the competition. Today we will discuss how this work is organised, and what is there to do for ensuring effective maintenance of Russian aircraft.

During the meeting we will also discuss other industry-related issues that have yet to be addressed.

Let us get to work.