From reactions picked up during the last, public days of MAKS 2009, Belgian participants seem to be altogether satisfied with the results of their presence at the air and space salon. The Russian Federation too, acknowledges the importance of such a technological forum for the creation of a brighter, international future for its aviation and space industry as it decided to build and entirely new exhibition complex at Zhukovsky-Ramenskoe.


Jeroen Devuyst of Flanders Investment & Trade summarised the revised concept of MAKS 2009 as being in general much better than that of 2007. The exhibition halls were beautifully decorated and equipped with air conditioning, sanitary facilities had been renewed, the typical Russian barbecue food stands were regrouped at a distance from the exhibition halls and the problem of traffic congestion had been addressed so that traffic jams were almost inexistent. Although not announced in advance, the change of the first trade day into an exhibitor and VIP only day, showed to be a good opportunity to spend some time with existing customers and other exhibitors.


“All Belgian exhibitors, including the newcomers, are altogether satisfied with their participation in MAKS”, Jeroen Devuyst continued. “MAKS 2009 offered them a unique opportunity to discover or meet again the entire Russian aviation and space industry in only a few days. Moreover, many contacts were at decision making level – with CEOs, CFOs or senior civil servants – which really helps improving efficiency and swiftness of first acquaintances or further negotiations.”


The Russian market without doubt offers opportunities for Belgian aerospace companies. The best illustration is Barco, which opened its Moscow office on 1 May 1998 and which was present for the first time at MAKS in 1999. Nowadays, all newly built civil aircraft in Russia are equipped with avionics made by Barco. The facts that Russian aerospace is seeking cooperation with western industry in the field of new technologies and that Belgian aerospace mainly consists of supply companies of world-wide but unpretentious repute without being in direct competition with the major Russian aircraft constructors, create an excellent setting for fair and sustainable cooperation. Russia, however, is not only looking for new technologies in the framework of its international programmes like the Sukhoi Superjet or the United Aircraft Corporation MS-21 (Магистральный Cамолет 21 века – Airliner of the 21st Century), but also for know-how, among others in the field of aircrew training, where there are great opportunities following the recent official decision to bring aircrew proficiency to international standards. 

“There were not only improvements from Russian side”, Jeroen Devuyst added, “but also from our side as Belgian aerospace companies too were better prepared. Goals were better defined, brochures were translated not only in English, but also in Russian, and most companies contracted interpreters to facilitate direct contacts.”

The importance of the Russian market for Belgian aerospace industry was typified by Karel Vervoort of the Flemish Aerospace Group when he stated that “there should be life after Airbus, Boeing and Embraer”, a one-liner inspired by unexpected changes that can hit the market anytime, like in the present financial crisis.


In accordance with Decree No. 217, issued by the President of the Russian Federation on 20 February 2008, preparatory work has been started on the establishment of a National Aircraft Manufacturing Centre (Национальный Центр Авиастроения) and of a Transport Exhibition Complex named “Russia” (TEC – Russia) (Транспортно-Выставочный Комплекс «Россия» - ТВК «Россия») as an integral part of it. The place chosen for this centre is the M. M. Gromov Flight Research Institute in Zhukovsky for its location close to Moscow, for its close vicinity to the river Volga and for its large open spaces. The centre will be a multifunctional complex and will be open the year round to host national and international exhibitions. It will particularly concentrate on military and security related exhibitions, but it will also attract other technological branches like the agricultural, automotive, business aviation, engineering, fire-fighting and transport (air, land and water) sectors.

In a preliminary phase a 16 hectares proving ground for wheeled and tracked vehicles will be constructed (the Polygon). It will comprise a closed circuit of 500 metres simulating broken ground with all kinds of obstacles like slopes and water holes and will be equipped with spectator stands for 1,500 public and press. This phase is scheduled to be completed by the summer of 2010 to host the 4th edition of the International Salon of weapons and military equipment (IDELF-2010) (IV Международный Салон Вооружения и Военной Техники МВСВ-2010).

The main phase consists of building exhibition halls (green), conference rooms (red), administrative facilities (blue) and a permanent museum for military equipment. To facilitate the access to the centre, air transport of equipment and passengers directly to Zhukovsky will be allowed, a direct railway connection with the centre of Moscow will be established and the roads leading to the terrain will be rearranged. To avoid interference with classified work taking place at the Gomov Flight Research Institute, TEC will have a separate entrance. Once completed, the Transport Exhibition Complex will cover more than 100,000 square metres. Financing is provided partly by private and government investors, one of the main partners being the government body Russian Technology (Ростехнологии), which also encompasses Rosoboronexport (Рособоронэкспорт).

Still to be elaborated later phases foresee in the establishment of a central flying school and air cargo facilities (Avia Cargo) at Zhukovsky airfield.



Travelling between Brussels and Moscow is easy. Brussels Airlines and Aeroflot offer direct flights between both capitals at comparable costs and with comparable aircraft. The major difference is that Brussels Airlines offers a morning and afternoon flight, while Aeroflot arrives in Brussels in the late evening and in Moscow in the middle of the night.

Since this year Brussels Airlines applies strict luggage weight rules. For the first time in six years, the company charged yours truly 90 euro for six kilogram overweight, a very high fine for a there and back ticket costing only 160 euro without taxes and for a return flight in a more than half empty aircraft arriving more than 40 minutes late in Brussels. Hand luggage too is now strictly limited to 8 kilogram, which makes that a well equipped aviation photographer cannot carry his camera, lenses and computer on board anymore.

 A solution was proposed by Russian aviation enthusiasts travelling between Moscow and Brussels: fly with a low-cost company to one of the Baltic or Balkan states from where you can continue to Brussels or Moscow at very competitive rates. 


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Hangar 01

Hangar 02

The general setup of the air and space salon was better than in 2007: the exhibition halls were beautifully decorated and equipped with air conditioning.


The Transport Exhibition Complex “Russia” will consist of a 16 hectares proving ground for wheeled and tracked vehicles (front left) and a main building with exhibition halls (green), conference rooms (red) and administrative facilities (blue). Later on, air cargo facilities will be added.


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 © Jos Schoofs (October 2009)


Last updated 07/10/09 13:08   Daniel Brackx