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    Defense minister confirmed as chair of aircraft building corp.

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    The board of directors of Russia's newly-registered United Aircraft Building Corporation elected the defense minister as chairman at their first session Tuesday.

    MOSCOW, December 12 (RIA Novosti) - The board of directors of Russia's newly-registered United Aircraft Building Corporation elected the defense minister as chairman at their first session Tuesday.

    Sergei Ivanov, who is also a deputy prime minister, was approved for the post by President Vladimir Putin a month ago.

    The UABC, a new umbrella company for Russia's aircraft industry, is being formed in line with a presidential decree to consolidate major domestic assets in aircraft manufacturing, to streamline the sector. Its formation is expected to be completed by April 2007.

    The 90% state-owned giant, with charter capital of 96.72 billion rubles ($3.68 billion), will incorporate commercial and military aircraft makers such as Sukhoi, Ilyushin, and Tupolev, as well as companies involved in distribution, including Aviaexport. It is set to begin operations in the first quarter of 2007 and hold an IPO at the turn of 2008.

    Ivanov said the new company should concentrate on developing commercial aviation.

    "I believe we should focus our attention on the construction of commercial planes, as this is not just a matter of industrial development, but also one of unifying the country's transport infrastructure."

    He said he was hopeful the UABC top management will be able to provide coordination between aircraft companies and government agencies in addressing the Russian aviation industry's most pressing problems.

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