20:28 GMT25 July 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik), Ekaterina Chukaeva - Boeing would like to cooperate with Russia on sustainability projects, including alternative fuels, Sergey Kravchenko, president of Boeing Russia/CIS, told Sputnik, adding that the country could become one of the biggest contributors to make the world environmentally friendly.

    "Russia eventually can become one of the biggest contributors to keep the world more environmentally friendly. We would like to cooperate with Russia on sustainability projects, including alternative fuels", Kravchenko said on the sidelines of the International Aviation and Space Salon MAKS-2021 outside Moscow.

    By 2030 all commercial airplanes should be certified and ready to use alternative fuels and that requires an absolutely new approach to training, maintenance, as well as in other spheres, according to the executive.

    "[Boeing's sustainability programme] should address the challenges - to make the world cleaner, make the climate more stable and that will result in new standards for the environment. The jet alternative fuels are... a big interest of the Boeing company", Kravchenko noted, adding that the first demonstrative flight with alternative fuels was shown by Boeing back in 2008.

    The sustainability initiative is one of three key initiatives Boeing promotes to make Russia one of its key international partners, Kravchenko continued. The second initiative concerns global aviation safety.

    "And for that reason, you know, we put together special research, our project here at Skolkovo [Innovation Center outside Moscow] - working together with SkolTech University and working together with the best scientists and programmers of the Russian Federation to investigate the influence of the stress or stressful situation on the work of the pilots. And that's very, very important because today we train millions of pilots", he said.

    Some unpalatable situations happen because pilots operate under enormous stress, the executive explained.

    "And we can learn how to reduce the stress, how to include the under stress training scenarios in our pilots learning curriculum, it will only help to increase the resilience of pilots", he added.

    The issue of pilots suffering from fatigue and overwork came to light in recent years following several deadly crashes. Surveys performed in the wake of the tragedies revealed that the topic of pilots’ mental health is not new, and depression among pilots still remains a problem. This is largely due to factors like shift-work, working long hours, lack of trust toward medical professionals, fear of losing one’s career, and increased stigma toward admitting one has mental health problems.

    A United Airlines Boeing 777-200ER  plane is towed as an American Airlines Boeing 737 plane departs from O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. Nov. 30, 2018.
    © REUTERS / Kamil Krzaczynski
    A United Airlines Boeing 777-200ER plane is towed as an American Airlines Boeing 737 plane departs from O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. Nov. 30, 2018.

    The third Boeing programme reflects the current world trends - people are scared of the COVID-19 pandemic and are afraid of flying because they think they may get infected.

    "In order, to address this, Boeing is developing a Confident Travel Initiative. This initiative is a combination of many efforts, technologies that make sure that before the flight, on the flight and after the flight, the passengers are very well protected from the virus. This initiative will last for many years because this virus will live for a while", Kravchenko said.

    Boeing Says Re-certification of 737 MAX in Russia Close to 'Final Step'

    The re-certification of Boeing 737 MAX in Russia after its global grounding two years ago is in a final stage, and the company hopes the process will be completed in the coming months, Kravchenkotold Sputnik.

    "China agreed with Boeing that it could be done in a matter of weeks, so they are on a final approach and it will be done in a few months in China. In Russia, we came very close to the final step," Kravchenko said on the sidelines of the International Aviation and Space Salon MAKS-2021 outside Moscow, adding that he hopes that the re-certification process "could be completed in a couple of months."

    Boeing 737 MAX flights were suspended in 2019 in the United States and across the world after two such planes crashed. In October 2019, a group of international experts from the Joint Authorities Technical Review JATR revealed significant flaws in the certification of the aircraft, admitted by the company itself and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). According to experts, important information about the maneuvering correction system (MCAS) was not provided in full to the FAA, and the regulator itself gave Boeing excessive powers in the certification process.

    The ban on Boeing 737 MAX was lifted in November 2020 by the US, and the airliner was approved by the Aviation Safety Agency of the European Union and the UK Civil Aviation Authority allowing its operation to continue. Updated certification of the 737 MAX was delayed in Russia due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    "My hope is Russian aviation authorities will cooperate and work with us on this [re-certification]", Kravchenko added.

    Boeing Expects Global Airline Industry to Fully Recover by Late 2024-2025

    The airline industry of Russia, China and - to some extent - the United States have shown good recovery following the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, yet the full rebound of the sector worldwide should be expected no earlier than the end of 2024-2025, Kravchenko shared with Sputnik.

    The global airline industry has been one of the worst affected by COVID-19, as most countries shut their borders and grounded flights to curb the spread of the disease. Many airlines across the globe have been forced to layoff workers after the first wave of the pandemic.

    "[Year] 2020 was still a year of challenge when most airlines would continue to lose money. Hopefully, the years 2021-2022 will be years of recovery. We estimate [full recovery will] happen by the end of 2024-25", Kravchenko said on the sidelines of the International Aviation and Space Salon MAKS-2021 outside Moscow.

    Speaking of Russia, the Boeing executive expressed the belief that the recovery to the 2019 air traffic level is "just around the corner." Yet, air traffic in Russia will still be about a third short of the pre-pandemic level, mostly because the world has not agreed yet on resumption of international travel, Kravchenko explained.

    "The recovery in the world [from the COVID-19 pandemic] still has to be seen but countries like Russia and China and - to some extent - the United States show very good recovery of domestic traffic. In Russia [the aviation industry improved] because of the domestic tourism and partially because of the international travel", he added.

    The MAKS-2021 international aerospace show is taking place in the Moscow Region from 20-25 July. The Sputnik news agency is an official media partner of the event.

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    Russia, interview, Boeing
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