Posted: 16.08.2023 10:56:00

‘We do everything bearing future prospects in mind’

The President of Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko, got acquainted with the prospects for the development of the aviation industry in Belarus


The Belarusian leader visited Minsk National Airport, where he was informed about the development of the infrastructure of the country’s main air harbour and plans for the future. The construction of a new passenger terminal was mentioned. The new terminal will be needed in the future due to the growing passenger traffic, which has already exceeded 5 million people per annum at Minsk National Airport in the past. 
Aleksandr Lukashenko gave instructions to prepare the relevant project for reconstructing the airport featuring the construction of the passenger terminal and the railway link in order to discuss the project in detail. It is of crucial importance to make plans and take steps bearing future prospects in mind.
“We do everything bearing future prospects in mind after all. If we don’t need something due to today’s circumstances, we have to understand that we will need it tomorrow,” the President explains.
The President gave separate instructions concerning the airport’s old runway. The second runway was built in 2019. Due to understandable reasons the traffic is much lower than it was in the past, but Aleksandr Lukashenko demands not to forget the first runway. The Head of State was told that the runway is undergoing routine repairs.
“Keep in mind that this runway has to be in an ideal state. It must be done under any circumstances,” Aleksandr Lukashenko instructed.
On the whole, the President was informed that despite complications caused by sanctions the airport tackles emerging problems, operates steadily, and experiences no shortage of materials and equipment. Some parts are now manufactured by Belarusian enterprises. Some parts are now imported from friendly countries, for instance, China.
Aleksandr Lukashenko got on a bus to inspect the airport’s territory and visited Minsk Civil Aviation Plant No.407. According to Vladimir Pekarsky, General Director of Minsk Civil Aviation Plant, the production facilities of the enterprise are utilised fully. The share of exports in revenue amounted to 98.8 percent in H1 2023.
The plant is building a complex for washing and painting aircraft. Construction is slated for completion in the first quarter of 2024. After the complex reaches full capacity, the plant looks to earn more than Br13 million in additional revenue and $4 million in exports. The plant is also planning to branch out into maintenance of new types of aircraft, manufacture of parts and assembly units, manufacture and repair of ground support maintenance equipment and aircraft components.
The Head of State visited the aircraft maintenance and repair hangar where he got acquainted with the production sites located here. After that, Aleksandr Lukashenko met with employees of the plant and other organisations located on the grounds of National Airport Minsk. 
“Thank you for launching the new plant. The main thing is that you have found your niche. You have learned to do a lot of new things. You are engaged in import substitution. Therefore, I sincerely tell you: well done! I am very grateful to you for this. We will move in this direction,” the President thanked the employees of the enterprise, while reminding, how the decision was made to relocate the production site of Minsk Civil Aviation Plant. Until 2018, it was located on the grounds of the Minsk 1 airport. But due to a number of circumstances, it was decided to move the plant to National Airport Minsk. The construction of the new production site was under the special control of the President. 
While talking with employees of enterprises, Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that the state will find a way out of any situation and will not leave its enterprises in trouble. 

“You should pay less attention to the pressure that the crazy West exercises against our enterprises, including the airport and [the flag carrier] Belavia. We will find a way out in any situation and will not leave our enterprises in trouble.
When this madness began after Ryanair, I told the pilot of my aircraft: pass the word to the guys that we will not leave them in trouble and tell me what needs to be done during the next flight. He reported to me before the next flight and we made decisions. This is why we will leave no one in 
trouble. The world is interconnected. Only crazy people can destroy this dependence. They will fail. We will persevere. They don’t need competitors, this is why they pressure us. But it is a good evaluation for us,” the President assured. 
During the meeting, the President said that he did not rule out the possibility of creating civil aircraft production in Belarus.
According to the Head of State, the transfer of the Minsk Civil Aviation Plant to the territory of the National Airport Minsk has become a new milestone in the life of the enterprise. 

“I wouldn’t even call it a plant: it should be treated as a beginning. It is the first step in this direction. We will do everything to support repair and service divisions and maybe the creation, construction of our own aircraft. We will promote it.
Furthermore, we have two major sites: a military plant in Baranovichi and a civil one here. If you can make some military products, I will be only grateful and will support you. If that enterprise makes something for you, for civilians, I will also support it. But since we’ve started manufacturing automobiles, I have this crazy thought (if I have the time to start it in my presidential life): if we manage to start making an aircraft of our own, I will be simply happy. It means my new dream may come true. So, I have this crazy thought regarding taking the production of civilian aircraft to the next level. We’ve mastered repairs and maintenance. Customers have virtually no complaints about you. We will move forward,” 
Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The President recalled how the production of cars was created in Belarus (by the way, the Head of State also called this his dream) — after long negotiations with various companies, the Chinese side eventually became a partner.
“This year we will produce 60,000 vehicles that have proven themselves very well. We have agreed with the Chinese partners on the licensed production of the cars. I think we have identified two brands. Therefore, we will have our own Belarusian-made car. We have made progress, and we will reach the goal of producing our own, almost 100 percent Belarusian car. A high-quality car,” 
Aleksandr Lukashenko added. 
Answering a question about the flight of a Belarusian woman to the ISS, the Head of State said that the flight of Marina Vasilevskaya is scheduled for the first quarter of 2024. Perhaps it will take place in March 2024.
“We plan that it will fly in the first quarter of next year, maybe in March. This is due to the accident at the ISS [postponing of the flight to next year]. Indeed, our girl will fly there. A backup crew member was also determined. We are getting ready, nothing can change this,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The Head of State was asked about the performance of domestic athletes at the 2nd CIS Games and whether the fear of competition is one of the reasons for the sanctions against Belarusian sports and athletes.
“The West is afraid of competition, they show their attitude, they want us to kowtow to them. They are fighting for world domination. Sport has long been the big politics. Therefore, they are pressing in all directions. We have held out and our guys perform in all sports and show good results,” the Head of State noted.
Aleksandr Lukashenko was also asked how he assesses the prospects for the return of Western airlines to Belarus and whether they are ready to receive them here.
The President replied, “They may do it any day. We are not aggressive people. I’d like to emphasise one more time: we are not going to fight against anyone. I say it to you all the time. We are peaceful people. We want to co-operate with everyone … Now we make money primarily in the East: in Russia, China. But we must not discard contacts with the high-tech West. They are nearby, the European Union is our neighbour. And we should maintain contacts with them. We are ready for this, but there should be due consideration for our interests. Believe me, the time will come (using your professional terms, I would say that now we are going through the period of turbulence), and in 2024-2025 there will be serious changes in the world.”

Based on materials of and