Ulyanovsk board approves Q400 production plan

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Russian authorities in Ulyanovsk have approved a project to conduct serial production of Bombardier Q400 turboprops at the city’s special economic zone.

The zone’s supervisory board cleared the plan to develop facilities enabling the twin-engined aircraft to be manufactured on the site.

It follows confirmation last year that Bombardier was considering a joint venture with state corporation Rostec to build the Q400 locally.

Rostec has provisionally agreed to take 50 Q400s for its leasing arm if the project is finalised, while Ilyushin Finance has also tentatively signed for 50.

Neither order has been firmed according to Bombardier’s backlog figures for the Q400.

The airframer secured net orders for 17 last year, after deals with Nordic Aviation Capital, Arik Air, Horizon Air, RwandAir and Luxair, and the probable inclusion of an order for Air Cote d’Ivoire.

Several aerospace initiatives are being planned for the Ulyanovsk zone but the Q400 scheme is a “landmark”, says the supervisory board, given its scale. The plant would produce up to 24 aircraft annually.

Samara firm Aviatech has also obtained approval for manufacturing its L-42M amphibian at the zone, while other potential schemes include maintenance facilities and a centre for interior work on the Irkut MC-21.