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Summary of the First Day of Aviation Salon MAKS 2021 : The 15th International Aviation and Space Salon MAKS-2021 was officially opened by President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin. Traditionally, he welcomed the organizers, participants and guests of the Salon, visited the exhibits of leading companies and watched flight demonstrations.

In his speech at the official air show opening ceremony, Vladimir Putin emphasized that MAKS fully meets its high international status despite the difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic. “In total, over 250 foreign companies from more than 50 countries are represented here – directly or remotely”, said Vladimir Putin. The partner country of MAKS-2021 is the Republic of Kazakhstan, which takes part in the implementation of mutually beneficial projects with Russia in the field of aviation and astronautics, including the assembly of helicopters of Mi family and a joint project Baiterek on launch services from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Concurrently, Russia is open to cooperation in the field of aviation and astronautics with all countries. “Improving flight safety, reducing the negative impact of aviation on the environment, exploring extraterrestrial space – these are the areas where scientists, designers, and other specialists from different countries must unite to achieve new breakthrough results”, said the Russian president with confidence.

The opening ceremony was followed by a tour to view the exhibition. Vladimir Putin took a look at promising domestic aircraft, in particular with the light multipurpose aircraft LMS-901 Baikal, the helicopter Ka-62, a specialized helicopter for offshore operations Mi-171A3, the upgraded helicopters Ansat-M, Ka-32A11M, unmanned helicopter VRT300. The Russian president also came on board of the Sukhoi Business Jet.

The head of state inspected the state-of-the-art light tactical aircraft developed by Sukhoi (part of the United Aircraft Corporation of Rostec State Corporation). During the presentation of the new fighter aircraft Yuri Slyusar, Director General of UAC, told the President of Russia about the design flight characteristics of the aircraft, its major advantages, including the adaptive capacity with consideration of the needs of a particular customer, low operating costs and extensive combat capabilities. According to the press service of Rostec State Corporation, the light tactical aircraft is a single-engine fighter of the fifth generation, which combines innovative solutions and technologies, including support for the pilot control activities by means of artificial intelligence, and proven solutions. The new aircraft has stealth capability and high flight characteristics. As expected, mass produced supplies of the aircraft may start as early as 2026-2027.

After visiting the exhibits and viewing the demonstration program Vladimir Putin held a meeting on the implementation of key projects in the field of civil aircraft engineering. During the event he reminded that the government implements large-scale measures to support sales of new civil aircraft, inter alia – Sukhoi Superjet-100 aircraft and domestically manufactured helicopters. “Let’s see today how the adopted decisions are being implemented, how many aircraft and helicopters have already been purchased using the mechanism of government guarantees, are there any issues of concern which may still remain unresolved”, he said.

Also the head of the state demanded to define the prospective plans of aviation equipment manufacturers until 2030 as well as their liability for obligations in terms of delivery timeline, prices, quality and operability level of such equipment. “These plans must be adequately funded using various sources. This is also one of our major topics today”, he concluded.

Cooperation Agreements
The first day of MAKS-2021 was marked by the signing of a number of cooperation agreements. In particular, some new orders were received for Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft: PSB Leasing has signed a firm contract for the delivery of 15 aircraft for Rossiya Airlines, Irkut Corporation signed memoranda for the delivery of 25 aircraft with Red Wings, 10 – with Azimut and 8 – with GTLK and Aurora. According to the Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation Denis Manturov, the signed agreements for the transfer of the SSJ-100 evidence that the SSJ-100 is a much-needed aircraft. “The fleet of civil aircraft in Russian airlines is being renewed, and it is right that this is happening due to domestically manufactured airliners. According to the All-Russia Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) survey, there is an obvious demand among passengers to expand the route network in Russia bypassing Moscow hub, and it is the SSJ-100, with its characteristics, that can meet this need”, the minister said.

Also, Irkut Corporation and Rossiya Airlines signed a memorandum of understanding to put the MC-21 aircraft into service.

Customers also took an active part in the contracting of helicopters at MAKS-2021. For example, the UTair Helicopter Services airline ordered 50 Mi-8AMT helicopters from the Russian Helicopters Holding company. Supplies will start in 2022. Two Ansat helicopters are leased by Russian Helicopter Systems from Avia Capital-Service. The landmark event of MAKS-2021 was announcement of contract performance between the National Air Sanitation Service and PSB Leasing company for the delivery of 66 sanaviation helicopters, including 28 Mi-8MTV-1 and 37 Ansats. The total value of the deal for the supply of 66 units is 28 billion rubles. The leasing period is 15 years.

The Ulyanovsk region at MAKS-2021 continued its work on the implementation of aviation projects, i.e. in cooperation with the company Avia Capital-Service it is planned to incorporate a specialized leasing company in the region. In the first phase its portfolio would include at least 10 Ansat, Mi-8 and Mi-38 helicopters for about 4 billion rubles. In the future it is expected to expand the fleet of the leasing company due to the aircraft MC-21-300, Sukhoi Superjet 100, IL-114-300. The parties also reached an agreement providing for IL-76 aircrafts and helicopters of Helix airlines to be based in the territory of the region, specializing in cargo transportation in the interests of the regional companies.

Novikombank has signed an agreement with the Concern Radio-Electronic Technologies to finance “green” projects, while Technodinamika Holding has reached an agreement with Rosoboronexport to promote domestic solutions in the field of parachute technologies in the foreign markets.

Business Program
The MAKS-2021 business program, which includes more than 100 events, as planned, started on July 19, when the Fourth Eurasian Aerospace Congress was held. Its site was used as a platform for plenary sessions and a number of conferences and roundtables on topical issues of aerospace industry development.

The highlight of July 20 was a meeting on the topic of civil aviation industry, chaired by Vladimir Putin.

The round table “Domestic digital technologies in aviation and aviation industry”, arranged by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia and Aviasalon JSC, was held on the site of MAKS Congress Center. Participants were shown a wide range of software products offered by domestic developers. AERONET analytical center held a conference “Geoinformation support for air mobility”. Airbus company, an official partner of the MAKS-2021 business program, organized a round table dedicated to the issues referring to restoration of consumer confidence in air travel under the COVID-19 pandemic. Airbus representatives also held a press conference for the Russian media, where they made a presentation of current products and services.

An abbreviated demonstration program featuring the latest civil and combat aircraft was presented on Tuesday, July 20. It opened with a parade of units produced by Russian Helicopters, as well as a solo helicopter flight. Group and solo flight of the MS-21-300 and MS-21-310 aircraft, as well as the IL-114-300 highlighted the major domestic new achievements in the field of civil aircraft. In turn, the Su-57 and MiG-35 aircraft demonstrated achievements in the field of combat aviation. The flight program ended with a demonstration made by aerobatics teams of the Russian Aerospace Forces.

According to the decision of Aviasalon JSC, MAKS-2021 demonstration program will be held in a new format. Starting from Wednesday, July 21, and ending Sunday, July 25, the flights will follow a unified plan, including a demonstration of the latest aircraft, as well as aerobatic display to be performed by aerobatic teams. To ensure comfort of exhibitors, flights of heavy jets start after 3 p.m.

General Information
The exhibition program of MAKS-2021 was made up by 829 companies from 56 countries of the world, taking into account absentee participants who joined the exhibition in the remote mode. Exhibits of 538 Russian companies and 89 foreign enterprises and organizations from 20 countries were built in the territory of the exhibition complex.

MAKS-2021, held under the pandemic conditions, demonstrated a new trend: congress and exhibition projects implemented in a hybrid format show a significant increase in the online component against the background of a significant reduction in the number of visitors working directly on the site of the exhibition complex. A special visiting mode, introduced at site in stringent compliance with recommendations of Rospotrebnadzor and the government of the Moscow region, included the requirement that the participants and visitors of the event must show a QR-code, or upload their negative PCR-test to the information system. Such strict measures, added to the mandatory requirements that include wearing face masks, keeping social distance and washing hands with skin antiseptics, are designed to mitigate the risk of infection.

Against the background of restrictions for entrance ticket and badges, 6,970 people passed through the checkpoints. Concurrently, 94,300 visitors followed the events and activities of the business program on the official site of MAKS, 282,000 more people viewed the official accounts of aviation salon to read the news and see the key events of the aviation salon.

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Syed Ahnaf Tahmid

Syed Ahnaf Tahmid