Planemakers eye replacement sales at Russian air show

Tue Aug 27, 2013 9:04am EDT
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By Megan Davies

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The world's top aircraft makers, scenting a major opportunity in replacing ageing Russian air fleets, will be touting their wares at Moscow's MAKS air show this week in the hope of winning a big slice of that multi-billion dollar market.

Russia needs to replace hundreds of planes as rising passenger numbers drive higher demand, yet many orders are set to go to overseas planemakers.

While President Vladimir Putin has pledged his support to the aerospace industry with ambitions to sell $250 billion worth of aircraft by 2025, Russia has struggled to revive its own airline manufacturing industry and its Superjet program for instance has been plagued by problems.

All of which means foreign makers such as Bombardier Inc, Boeing Co and Airbus view Russia as an important growth market.

"Three of largest replacement markets in the world are the U.S., Europe and Russia, where many older airplanes need to be phased out and more efficient airplanes brought in," Mike Barnett, managing director, marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes told a news conference on Monday.

Boeing says it expects air carriers in Russia and the former Soviet states to take delivery of 1,170 planes over the next 20 years at a cost of $140 billion.

Airbus, due to hold an event at MAKS on Tuesday, also has buoyant growth forecasts for 2012 through 2031, expecting Russia to take sixth place globally in terms of new passenger aircraft demand, according to its website.

Driving the market is economic growth, which is fueling a rise in the number of people flying within Russia - the world's largest country stretching from Vladivostok in the east to the Polish border some 8,000 kilometers to the west - and to international destinations.   Continued...

A spectator watches an airplane fly at the MAKS International Aviation and Space Salon in Zhukovsky outside Moscow August 27, 2013. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov