‘The fleet will be restocked gradually’: UVT Aero to get Tu-214 planes as early as 2025
An aviation expert highly appreciated the prospects of the Kazan plane
During his annual address, Tatarstan Rais Rustam Minnikhanov announced a purchase of Tu-214 planes by the republic’s UVT Aero airline again. The head of the region didn’t name exact dates when the aircraft of the Kazan Aviation Plant will join the airline’s fleet limiting himself only to the words that the planes will be at its disposal soon. To get answers, Realnoe Vremya contacted the airline itself where it was told the Tu-214 would be used in 2025 only. Our newspaper and an aviation expert and editor-in-chief of Avia.ru Roman Gusarov assessed the prospects of buying the Kazan planes and the chances of Tu-214 of replacing foreign aircraft. Read more about it in our report.
“We are planning to restock the fleet with new Tu-214 planes of the Kazan Aviation Plant soon”
As Rustam Minnikhanov said in his address, UVT Aero airline performs flights from the republic’s airports to 40 destinations. According to him, they are going to be purchased Tu-214 for it soon, but the rais didn’t name exact dates.
“We are planning to restock the fleet with new Tu-214 planes of the Kazan Aviation Plant soon,” Minnikhanov laconically said and didn’t go into details.
This August, CEO of Rostec Sergey Chemezov said during his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin that 10 Tu-214 planes are forecasted to be produced a year by 2025.
“Our airlines will need these planes today very much because all foreign companies will leave from 2025, since major plane repairs will be required,” the head of the country said.
By the way, the production capacity of Tu-214 is aimed to reach 20 aircraft a year from 2027 — such agreements were reached during a visit to the Kazan Aviation Plant last month. The design of the plane is supposed to be completed by late 2024. Russian Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov thinks that the updated Tu-214 plane will be as effective as Boeing and Airbus.
Also, during a visit to the enterprise in late July, Mikhail Mishustin approved of a modernisation programme of the second stage at a total of 83.6 billion rubles, which will give an opportunity to reach a new aircraft assembly rate. The government of the country decided to transfer a half of this sum — 41.8 billion rubles — from the National Well-Being Fund. By 2032, the Kazan engineers can create 156 planes — at least a team of Tupolev presented such an outlook.
Tu-214 will perform both regional and international flights
The republican airline itself told Realnoe Vremya that it planned to start using Tu-214 planes in 2025. The fleet is going to be restocked gradually. However, the airline didn’t specify how many planes will be purchased.
“UVT Aero is studying an idea of uniting regional (CRJ 200) and mid-haul (Tu-214) planes into one system. 50 local Bombardier CRJ 200 transport passengers from neighbouring regions to the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan and mid-haul planes would take them to further destinations. The announced maximum distance of Tu-214 is 6,500 kilometres,” the airline said.
It added that Tu-214 would perform both regional and international flights.
“The plane is modern enough in its flight characteristics”
As aviation expert and editor-in-chief of Avia.ru Roman Gusarov said, other enterprise already use Tu-214. In his opinion, it won’t be hard to use it technically. The specialist stressed that UVT Aero has to do a lot of work before buying the planes because it is a new type of planes for it.
“Now they don’t have such planes, they use lower class planes. They will have to seriously start using Tu-214, this includes pilot training, especially considering that the plane has a three-member crew, this is not easy because even flights attendants are no longer trained in Russia. Perhaps, it will have to learn the experience of Red Wings that has been just recently using Tu-204, which is similar to Tu-214. Clearly, they have different modifications, but in fact, it is the same model. By the way, the first Tu-214 planes will start be used by Red Wings, as far as I understand. This is done because the airline already used Tu-214 and it has the experience of using planes of this family,” Gusarov explained.
The expert expressed his hope that the republican airline wouldn’t limit itself just to one plane but would buy some because the more planes, the lower their operational cost, there is infrastructure, staff is trained, engineering services appear. Otherwise, there is no sense in buying some two planes. He added that Russia doesn’t yet have planes similar to Tu-214, while MS-21 is promised to appear only by the end of the next year, and Aeroflot will buy all of them. There is only Tu-214 if the Tatarstan airlines is going to fulfil its potential in this segment.
“There has always been made a small quantity of Tu-214, it wasn’t large-scale production, one or two planes a year were made. And it is hard to return big production quickly, and it is very hard to set up its production because Tu-214 isn’t a plane like Airbus or MS-21 that are considered digital machines in terms of its production. This is why it is simply impossible to make it in big lots. Production needs to expand if twice as many planes are needed, twice as many machine tools are needed,” Gusarov commented on the development pace of the Kazan plane.
The aviation expert expressed his concern about the promises of making 20 planes a year. In his opinion, this is an impossible task. Colossal investments are needed for these goals and he doubts they will pay back one day.
“Even if 20 planes for our industry won’t made a difference for our sector, they will become some support. We need 700 planes, and if five planes a year are made, it will take 150 to replace all of them. It is impossible to wait for such a long period of time. The prospects of Tu-214 are somewhat local, it is to become one of aircraft, as some support of import substitution of airlines’ fleet. If everything with MS-21 and Superjet is fine, Tu-214 will joint them, we will be able to replace the whole fleet of foreign planes during 10 years, not earlier, I am afraid. And Tu-214 can help in this activity. It is modern enough in its flight characteristics. It complies with safety, distance requirements, meets all modern requirements,” Roman Gusarov concluded.
It should be reminded that because of anti-Russian sanctions that affected the aviation sector too, Russia lost 85 Airbus and Boeing planes in 2022 — these are key passenger planes in Russia airlines accounting for a tenth part of the foreign aircraft fleet.