Modern airliners are very complicated products which build on enormous amounts of technical experience and knowhow.
Preben, this is very true.
I think that few people realize how vastely inferiour the old Soviet airliners are (were) compared to ordinary modern products.
Inferior compared to what and how? Just how inferior was is the Tu-154M when you compared it to the 727? Although they are basically in the same class of aircraft, the Tupolev was required to operate from airports from which the 727 would never have been able to operate from.
Given, Russian aircraft were not as comfortable as their "western" counterparts, but they were operating in vastly different conditions to those Boeing and Airbus aircraft flying in the "west".
The new Russian airliners did catch up, no doubt about that, but how much did they catch up? 20%, 50% or 80%? And how much time and effort is needed to catch fully up? That's the big question.
I give Russian aviation about 15 years to really start getting sales on the international civil aviation market.
Also as long as they are still fighting a civil war, then some new high profile large scale industry being built up would be prone to be blow up by terrorists/freedom fighters, whatever you call them.
Preben, you have quoted this before on a few occasions. Let me get this straight for you. There is no civil war in Russia. The Chechnya situation is not actually classed as a civil war, but rather fighting against the illegal secession of Chechnya from the Russian Federation.
I have also noticed that you have said on a few occasions that you would not fly Aeroflot due to terrorist concerns. I laugh everytime I have seen you write this. Take note of how many Aeroflot aircraft have been hijacked by Chechen/Ingueshian terrorists? None. They have gone for airlines which have lax security, from airports where security is easily violated, or airports where it has been claimed the local authorities (i.e. the Turks in the recent Vnukovo airlines hijack) have done nothing after receiving warnings.
Aehhh Brissie-Lion, you haven't been around where Russian airliners are (or rather "were") operated. And you obviously never flew on one. Go and tell your own Qantas to buy a bunch of them.
I have been around a few Russian aircraft in my time. It is just unfortunate I live in Perth, where every visit by a Russian/Ukrainian/Uzbek aircraft is greatly appreciated.
And as to having flown on Russian aircraft, I beg to differ. I have flown on a small variety of types, including a Transaero An-124 on a very small flight (15 minutes). But as for comfort on board the aircraft, I have found nothing majorly wrong with the Il-62, Tu-154 or Tu-134. The Tu-134 is just a tad uncomfortable, but I would have no problem lying one again over the sectors for which the aircraft was built.
As for making QF buying Russian aircraft....hell....if I was the CEO of QF I would seriously consider the Tu-204/Tu-214/Tu-334 for domestic operations, and the Il-96M for international, but not with Perm PS-90A engines (which have been experiencing some problems, especially as of late). I would also do some minor upgrading of the aircraft interiors. But apart from that, there is not much that needs doing.
As Filyov, the general-director of Sibir Airlines, based in Novosibirsk, stated on the Tu-204
It is still too early to say. If we were buying a Boeing or an Airbus, we would know we are buying a finished product. When we buy a Tu-204, we are buying a headache. But this headache costs so little that we look at it and think, maybe it's worth trying it out. Theoretically, the plane's economics make it profitable on routes of 5,000 kilometers. In practice, we are flying 3,000 kilometers with it. Of course, its effectiveness is lower, but it is still there. For this distance, the most effective plane in the world is a [Soviet-built] Tu-154M, thanks to its cost. The cost of the airplane plus its user costs are still less than the loan payments-plus-interest you would pay for the latest generation of airplanes.
It is probably for this reason that Russian aircraft will find their footing in Africa, South-East Asia and the Middle East (and maybe Latin America) before they make breakthroughs in the European, North American and Australia markets.