Air Transport World

Moscow's 1999 Air Salon.

Too much security, too little content

The effects of two crises were evident at MAKS 99--the 1999 Moscow Air Salon in August. The first was that of August 1998, when Russia's ruble collapsed and caused the financial crisis. This resulted in a substantial drop in the number of foreign exhibitors and aircraft at the show, and even in the number of Russian/CIS firms in the display booths.

The second crisis to affect the show was that of Yugoslavia. Russia's unhappiness about the events of early 1999 was reflected in a noticeable change in its military funding. Last year its forces bought almost no new equipment, including aircraft, and even had difficulty paying for vital spares. This year design bureaus and production factories were reporting orders and even full prepayments for aircraft that will not be delivered for two or three years.

So the pendulum has swung to the military side, but that does not mean all problems have been resolved. The first and third days of the show had visits from leading politicians and the flying display reflected this. But the second day, designated air force day, saw almost no flying, apparently due to a shortage of money for fuel. …

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