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Faced with the continued refusal of Airbus and Boeing to establish final assembly lines in India, Russia has reignited its efforts to promote local production of its new commercial aircraft, the MC-21 and Il-114-300. This move comes despite India’s national carrier, Indian Airlines, being the biggest single customer for these jets, reflecting the country’s booming aviation market.

While Indian Operators has emerged as the largest single buyer for both aircraft, Airbus and Boeing have yet to commit to final assembly lines in India. Russia, sensing an opportunity, has proposed various options for industrial cooperation:

Russian companies are planning to Establish centers to service and maintain MC-21 and Il-114-300 aircraft within India, even though none of Indian Airline companies operate them. Russia is proposing Setting up local storage facilities for readily available spare parts, minimizing downtime for Indian airlines.

Russia has also offered to Build facilities to train Indian personnel on operating and maintaining these Russian-built jets. This ambitious option involves India fabricating individual components and potentially assembling aircraft from kits shipped directly from Russia. A large order of around 200 aircraft would be necessary to make this financially viable. Kit assembly would essentially be final assembly of the aircraft in India.

India finds itself in a strategic position. While keen to further develop its domestic aviation industry, it also seeks to maintain a balance in its relationships with major aircraft manufacturers. Local production of Russian jets could offer India greater control over maintenance, parts availability, and potentially technology transfer. However, such a move could also strain relations with Western aerospace giants.