Russians buy Kiwi planes in big deal

Waikato company Pacific Aerospace has signed an agreement with a Russian company to build 37 aircraft in an $88 million groundbreaking deal for New Zealand.

The deal with Moscow-based AeroProject 751, whose directors have likened the qualities of Pacific Aerospace's P750 XSTOL aircraft to the legendary Russian assault rifle, the Kalashnikov, will result in New Zealand-made planes being the first certified light aircraft to operate commercially in Russia's underdeveloped general aviation sector.

Under the agreement, Aeroproject, whose principals are in Hamilton with 12 members of the Russian Government's Interstate Aviation Committee putting the P750 through its certification paces, will take delivery of the 37 planes over the next five years.

Aeroproject spokesman Egor Mityaev said the P750s would find a keen market in the Russian medical, agricultural, mining and skydiving sectors.

Mityaev said Russia was a vast country with isolated cities and towns, had few good roads, extremes of weather, generally poor infrastructure and its government was keen to develop a new medical aviation structure.

The P750s, which can carry three stretchers and three medical personnel and are designed to operate on very short and difficult terrain runways. Fairfax NZ

Taranaki Daily News