Sep 15, 2022
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The West does not want Russian money for its planes, but the Ministry of Transport insists

Most of the imported aircraft in Russia are on lease, which is impossible to pay. The Ministry of Transport offered to use the national purse in order to buy Boeings and Airbuses. That is, to give another money to those who have already appropriated our gold and foreign exchange reserves. Who are the authors of this proposal working for?

Letter without comments

The Kommersant publication learned about the letter that the Ministry of Transport of Russia sent to twenty Russian airlines on the penultimate day of summer. Carriers were asked to estimate how many foreign aircraft from their fleet they can buy out of leasing with loans for 15 years at a ridiculous 1.5% per annum. It is interesting that the Ministry of Transport refused to comment on their own letter to the public – and, it seems, they were generally annoyed that the story became public. The airlines also decided not to expand on this topic – judging by their unanimity, the Ministry of Transport asked for some confidentiality.

To which he had no right.

Because it is planned to lend to carriers from the National Welfare Fund. National, we emphasize, and not the Ministry of Transport. And only the top leadership of the country can classify such things – but in this case, no Kommersant would publish anything.

Most likely, the secrecy is due to the fact that two mistakes were deliberately made in the letter – legal and civilizational.

Things are in disarray

On the legal side, the situation is as follows: it is almost impossible to buy back the planes. Yes, some fussed in time: for example, in August it became known that Utair bought almost all of its Boeings from a leasing company. But, as they say, there is a nuance – some of the liners belonged to the European branch, but still to the Russian (well, Russian) company SberLeasing, so there were no problems with agreements and payment.

But leasing is different from leasing. The fifth package of EU sanctions implied the continuation of contracts only for financial leasing, while the vast majority of aircraft were purchased under operating lease and, from the point of view of Europe, are illegally held in Russia. In addition, operating leasing does not imply the right of the lessee to buy out the object taken for use.

That is, our Boeings, Airbuses and business aviation are now cut off from spare parts and certified maintenance, when they cross the state border, restrictive measures are imposed on aircraft up to confiscation, lease payments do not go through. This, of course, is an unhealthy state of affairs, and the desire of the Ministry of Transport to restore order in this area is quite understandable.

The only pity is that the way this explanation is contrary to the interests of the state.

Broke a wing – substitute another

As for the civilizational approach, the Ministry of Transport is trying to come to an agreement – and for our common money! – with those who have already stolen the other part of this common money. Is it possible to find a better proof that Russia is not a vicious aggressor at all, but an affectionate cuteness? If you conduct a real, honest survey of officials who make decisions in finance, the economy, and industry, it will turn out that their most cherished desire is for everything to return to 2019, and preferably 2013, in order to forget the aggravation of relations with the West as a nightmare. Transport Minister Vitaly Savelyev is apparently no exception.

“The agreements have changed. There are no more agreements, ”the cardboard movie villain performed by Al Pacino informed the deceived partner, and then the collective West reproduced this scene in reality. And the Ministry of Transport wants to pay him for this. Yes, through loans, that is, the money will be returned to the National Welfare Fund, but 1.5% per annum is a guaranteed big loss. Do we have nothing more to finance?

The personal nobility, in some places even the Tolstoyanism of the head of the Ministry of Transport, is also impressive. He himself, with his assets, is under sanctions, but does not want to respond in kind. He offers other coins, full-weight ones.

And you have to fly

Russia has no right to spend money on financing enemies, even if it is covered by a “leasing fee”. Russia has the right to officially announce that Western planes have been arrested until the arrest is lifted from our gold and foreign exchange reserves for 300 billion dollars (that is, forever). There are schemes (probably, it is not worth describing them in detail here), according to which Russia can receive, if not full-fledged technical support, but at least spare parts. But one way or another, we will not be able to fly on imported liners forever, they will gradually fail anyway.

Let’s face it: a severe crisis due to a shortage of aircraft in civil aviation is inevitable, there will also be bankruptcies of airlines, and a rise in the price of flights too. You can delay this moment for a couple of years, no more, and only on domestic flights. A cornered crisis always breaks out with special force and special cynicism.

Civil aviation is one of the main industries for such a huge country as Russia. The fewer horizontal connections we have, the more difficult it is to get from the Altai point A to the Belgorod point B, the less united the country becomes, the sense of community disappears, the level of control decreases, and separatism increases.

Aeroflot, under the leadership of Savelyev, by the way, has already tried to “separate” Kamchatka from Russia. The attempt failed, but we remembered it.

Therefore, all forces in the fire mode should be directed to the production of their own aircraft, and not to delay the inevitable for a lot of money.

The project is above the law

Which liners will become the base ones should be decided by specialists. Whether it will be the long-suffering short-haul Superjet brought to mind, the medium-haul MS-21 and Tu-214, or something else is not so important, the main thing is to quickly make a decision and start working.

And this work should be carried out not according to state programs that have set the teeth on edge, but in a project-based manner, with the mobilization of available resources. The choice of basic plants, the creation of new legal entities (all the old ones are mired in tangled economic relations and are unable to work effectively in an emergency), placing orders for the necessary materials and components, recruiting energetic young employees from the technical departments of universities and colleges under the guidance of seasoned professionals, guaranteeing government orders for aircraft (Savelyev at Aeroflot once fought back from the obligation to purchase Superjets, now he is on the other side of the barrier), the search for buyers abroad – all this must be done quickly and simultaneously. If you like, in the style of Lavrenty Beria, who was a great master of project management (and this is not at all about the Gulag). Under the direct control of the dictator to rearm the economy.

Of course, such projects should be free from bureaucratic conventions. If, in order to solve the problem faster, it is necessary to violate the legislation on public procurement adopted in peacetime, it must be violated. If, on the contrary, we adopt an emergency law, we will manage without grinding in the State Duma.

And with this, you can already go for a cheap loan from the NWF. Not ashamed.

So what?

Yes, but we still need to state the obvious. Proven, reliable, loyal personnel such as Vitaly Savelyev, Denis Manturov, and other old-timers-heavyweights are not capable of such work. The masters of bureaucratic maneuvers, checks and balances, purchases in the West must leave forever – freeing up space for business people.

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