Two hundred and six aviation enterprises and airlines from 19 countries are taking part in the first international exhibition "Civil Aviation 2002" that opened on Wednesday at Moscow airport of Domodedovo.
The exhibition may solve three business problems for Russia, i.e. further development of air traffic, providing flight safety and renovation of the aircraft park, said head of the state civil aviation service of the Russian transport ministry Alexander Neradko.
Russian airlines are suffering from shortages in the aircraft park, he admitted. The new passenger liners that have been developed, such as IL-96, TU-204, TU-214 and others, fully comply with high European standards. Yet they are not enough to fill the domestic market. "The economic crisis in the 1990s did not allow the aviation industry to solve the problem in time," he said.
"Any exhibition is a powerful political and ideological incentive. We hope that also this exhibition will contribute to selling Russian airplanes abroad. For instance, Russia is already exporting fire-extinguishing versions of MI-8 and MI-26 helicopters, they are used in Greece, South Africa and France to extinguish forest fires," Neradko said.
30-40-year exploitation of airplanes is usual not only for Russia, but also for the West, he pointed out. Yet the flying time of Russian planes totals about 50,000 hours, while that of the foreign ones is three times higher, he admitted. "Our today strategy is to go over to new modern planes which will also be more economical," Neradko stressed.
At the Domodedovo exhibition visitors may acquaint themselves with new aerotechnics, as well as to watch the airport's life, as it does not cancel its activities, he said. Every second minute a plane takes off or lands here. "The airport suspends its work only for two hours during the day, when exhibition planes, as well as planes of the emergency ministry, sports and business aviation have demonstrative flights," he added.