Kiev’s decision to cut ties with Russia left aircraft producer Antonov with no source of parts with which to build planes. As a consequence, it couldn’t complete a single project this year because its pre-crisis stockpile ran out.
Antonov is a state-owned Ukrainian company famous for producing Soviet-designed transport planes like the An-124 Ruslan and An-225 Mriya, the world’s largest plane. Last year, the Ukrainian government decided to cut all ties between Antonov and its Russian parts suppliers for political reasons.
The decision “didn’t help Antonov,” acknowledged Andrey Haustov, who heads the company’s development department. The Ukrainian plant is struggling to find alternative suppliers and, at the moment, is unable to produce planes, he said.
“Now if we really wanted to build a plane – and we have several unfinished aircraft in our shops – we would have to replace all Russian parts with parts produced by other companies. Not necessarily Western, they can be Ukrainian,” he told Radio Vesti. “For instance, for the An-148 or An-158 that would be about 5,400 types of parts, the biggest being radio electronics.”
Last year Antonov built one An-148 and one An-158 with Russian parts that it still had in its stockpiles, but those are depleted now, so this year the company was unable to finish a single plane, Haustov confirmed, stressing that the issue is pressing. Nonetheless, he has hopes that production will resume next year.