Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) increased the proportion of commercial aircraft in its total output last year and intends to continue with this strategy. The corporation’s 2012 revenues amounted to 171 bln rubles ($5.5 bln), or 6% up on the 2011 results. Its EBIT reached 217 mln rubles and its net loss shrank 58% to 5.650 bln rubles.
"Our key priorities in 2012 were to cut costs, modernize production capacities, and increase our operating margin," says Vladimir Chirikov, UAC Vice-President for Economics and Finance. "The corporation’s main goal for the next two years is to break even." Chirikov notes that UAC’s revenue has grown by more than 70% from the 2009 level, while its net loss has decreased five-fold. The corporation expects to get over 220 bln rubles in IFRS consolidated revenue this year.
UAC built 102 aircraft in 2012. As of 31 December, its firm backlog had exceeded 450 airframes. According to the management, the current development strategy calls for a sharp increase in the output of commercial aircraft. UAC plans to have brought the proportion of civilian products up to 20% in its total sales.
This increase is expected to result first from the planned production ramp-up of Sukhoi Superjet 100 regional airliners, and then from the production launch of the Irkut MC-21 short- to medium-range passenger jet, whose market entry is scheduled for 2017. UAC is also studying the possibilities and market opportunities for developing new passenger aircraft designs.
Commercial operation of the SSJ 100 continues to intensify both in Russia and abroad. Indonesian carrier Sky Aviation and the Laotian Lao Central started operating these airliners in early 2013. Deliveries to Mexico’s Interjet should begin this summer. There will also be new Russian operators for the type. The SSJ 100 production program is ramping up: 12 airframes were built in 2012 compared to just five the year before.
Aeroflot, the launch customer for the SSJ 100 and Russia’s largest air carrier, took delivery of the first full-specification aircraft this May. The airline’s original order in 2005 was for what was known at the time as the standard specification (all-economy class seating 98 passengers). The specifications were later revised, but in order to ensure seamless deliveries, the manufacturer stuck to the standard, or light, specification for the first 10 production airliners. These were to be eventually replaced in service with full-specification airframes, which feature an updated FMS, a windshear weather radar, and more comfortable passenger cabin.
All of Aeroflot’s light SSJ 100s will have been thus replaced by April 2014. These examples to be returned to the manufacturer might be VIP-reconfigured and offered to bizav operators.
The creation of the United Aviation Corporation in 2006 was instrumental in integrating the best practices of the Russian aircraft manufacturing industry under a single roof for the purpose of attaining competitive results in the construction and operation of military and commercial aircraft. UAC received the state-controlled shares in all the largest Russian aviation design houses and manufacturing enterprises.
UAC sees its strategic mission in making it into the top three of global aircraft manufacturers by maintaining a balanced presence of its products in the three key aviation segments: commercial, transport, and military. By 2025, UAC-built aircraft should have secured 10% of the world market for commercial aircraft.
"Ramping up series production helps us increase our efficiency and bring our costs down," says UAC President Mikhail Pogosyan. "Our current backlog for military, cargo, and passenger aircraft allows for a higher profitability. We aim to overcome the restrictions imposed by the tough market entry conditions, and to develop successfully."
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