10th-16th May 2004
Berlin, Germany

Between 10th and 16th May 2004, Berlin, the capital city of Germany, hosted the international aerospace exhibition ILA 2004, sponsored by the Federal Association of German Aerospace Industry. ILA is traditionally based at Berlin Schoenefeld Airport. This time it sprawled over five outdoor locations with a total of 94,000 sq. metres in floor space. The exhibits were also displayed in 12 pavilions with an area of 48,000 sq. metres. The air show presented a total of 330+ flying vehicles of different types: from super size transport machines to light gliders. Among them was the world's largest transport plane, the Airbus 340-600, over 75 metres long (FYI, the largest Boeing, the 747-400, is a "mere" 70.60 metres long), and the world's smallest twin-engine aeroplane, the Cri-cri. The event was attended by about 1,000 exhibitors from 43 countries.

Their line-up included the major corporations from Europe and the USA, and aerospace contractors from countries in Central and Eastern Europe, South America and Asia. Russia displayed its aircraft and weapons, as well as generic and civil products. An important objective of the RF display was to showcase high-profile Russian solutions in the field of civil aircraft and aerospace engineering.

At ILA 2004, Sukhoi highlighted its flagship civil aviation projects. The participants of the Berlin air show had a chance to examine the multi-role mixed passenger/cargo Su-80GP and the light amphibian Be-103 made by Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Production Association, as well as the company's new RRJ project, a regional airliner. The exhibit highlighted the trend that has emerged in the company's activities over the recent years. Sukhoi's long-term plans provide, according to CEO Mikhail Pogosyan, for a 50-50 target in balancing its production in terms of military and civil aircraft. This would make it possible to hedge the production profile of the company's units in case of a slump in the market for combat aircraft. A great many exhibition visitors showed interest in the promising regional aircraft project to be implemented with broad-spectrum participation of international partners. The RRJ Project is a series of regional-route passenger aircraft with 60 to 95 seating capacity, which is being developed jointly with Boeing Corporation. To ensure successful global marketing of the new aeroplane, the project is being implemented based on several key points. Firstly, maximum use of the experience gained by the holding under its military and civil programmes. The second success ingredient is the use of the experience accumulated by the world aero industry. The third point provides for project R&D effort to focus on cutting-edge technologies. An ILA news item of major significance, coming from Russia, was the announcement made by Sukhoi Company's General Director Mikhail Pogosyan about completion of the preliminary marketing and technical research into the RRJ jet airliner. He said that the aeroplane's technological profile had already been finalised and presented to potential customers among airlines last April.

Another news item at the air show was the announcement made by representatives of Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Production Association (KnAAPO) about the signing of a $20m contract for delivery of 20 Be-103 amphibian aeroplanes to China. KnAAPO had already set up production of aircraft ordered by China. Deliveries will be made in 2004 and 2005. Following the example of the three Be-103 aeroplanes supplied to the United States, the "Chinese" amphibians will be fitted with US-made Teledyne piston engines and Western-made avionics. Negotiations are currently underway to arrange deliveries of the Be-103 to a number of countries in Latin America. The contracts are expected to be signed late in 2004 or early in 2005. The global interest in the aircraft is emphasized by the fact that the plant's portfolio of Be-103 orders currently stands at about 100 units, with deliveries scheduled over the next 3-5 years. Over the period of the show, staged to promote the drive to expand the European Union and NATO, the Be-103 was examined by some 200,000 visitors. The air show witnessed contracts signed to the amount of 4bn+ euros.

It was decided at the exhibition to hold ILA in Berlin on the grounds of the Schoenefeld aerodrome through 2010. The next air show is scheduled for 15th-25th May 2006.

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