Merkel Insults Russian ILA Exhibitors

During her opening remarks at ILA Angela Merkel was not distracted by the sight of any Russian cargo aircraft  /  source: ILA
During her opening remarks at ILA Angela Merkel was not distracted by the sight of any Russian cargo aircraft / source: ILA

German Chancellor Angela Merkel refused to officially open a provisional lounge within a Volga-Dnepr operated An-124-100 at the Berlin Air Show. The big freighter was not even allowed to be parked at the ILA zone at Berlin Schoenefeld Airport during the official inauguration of the show by Frau Merkel.


This was tantamount to an insult: The big An-124 freighter belonging to Russian Volga-Dnepr Airlines and flying on behalf of the NATO and the EU states under a contract with Leipzig-based Ruslan-Salis GmbH was ordered to keep out of ILA’s exhibition ground while Chancellor Merkel inaugurated the show. The removing of the aircraft was demanded by her Chancellery, a person close to the issue told CargoForwarder Global. Being disinvited this way, the Ruslan-Salis managers had to park their aircraft at an M3 called area at Schoenefeld airport out of the ILA visitor’s sight.

This all happened despite an invitation and a formal commitment of the organizers, guaranteeing Ruslan-Salis the parking of their aircraft during the entire duration of the show. This is all the more astonishing, as the aircraft just came back from an Afghanistan mission conducted on behalf of the German Army ‘Bundeswehr’. Upon arrival the Ruslan-Salis managers were told that the plane was not permitted to be parked at the originally conformed position and was completely undesired at ILA during Merkel’s day-long stay on 20 May.

No official reason was given by the Chancellery but it seems highly likely that the political quarrel between the West and Russia over Moscow’s Crimea annexation and the Ukraine conflict has led to the ban demanded by the Merkel government.

The An-124-100 freighter that had to be removed from Berlin’s air show during Merkel’s stay  /  source: hs
The An-124-100 freighter that had to be removed from Berlin’s air show during Merkel’s stay / source: hs

The decision shadows also the relations between Berlin-held ILA and its Russian counterpart Moscow’s Aerospace Saloon MAKS. Both aviation trade shows cooperate intensely since a long time, so far to their mutual benefit.  In 2004 they signed an agreement guaranteeing each other the status of priority partnership. Since then, the number of German exhibitors at MAKS and Russian firms at ILA has steadily increased.

Due to Merkel’s official order to get the Russia-licensed An-124-100 Volga-Dnepr freighter out of her sight, it could very well turn out that the up to now fruitful relations between MAKS and ILA will be damaged.

The enforced hiding of the An-124 at Schoenefeld’s M3 Area was also a blow to Ruslan-Salis customers. “Once the ILA organizer gave us his okay to park our freighter among other aircraft at the exposition from the first to the last day of the show we started inviting customers to come and visit the aircraft and to meet us there for talks,” said a Ruslan-Salis manager. At the end of the day the guests had come but the aircraft wasn’t there. Soon, Merkel’s Chancellery will receive a bill – asking them to pay 10,000 euros for food and beverages Ruslan-Salis had ordered to offer their clients during the opening day of this year’s ILA.

Is this the way to remain neutral at an international air show?
It seems not to be the case and the refusal to have the AN-124 within her sights most surely did not do any good to Frau Merkel government’s efforts to reach a peaceful settlement in those crisis areas.

Heiner Siegmund

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Comments: 4
  • #1

    Marat Abrarov (Monday, 26 May 2014 19:10)

    Miss Merkel shows, what many people obviously not have: "Rückgrat" instead of "Kindergarden"

  • #2

    Aviation Professional (Monday, 26 May 2014 19:35)

    Very good move by Chancellor Merkel! Finally, she shows "the cold shoulder" to the Russian who so blatantly violated international agreements, also signed by Russia.
    Quite senseless writing by the author.

  • #3

    D. Burkard, Moscow (Tuesday, 27 May 2014 12:54)

    Mr Siegmund, Are you aware about how the Russian government in the last 2 weeks is trying all they can do to discredit German und Austrian (food) products in the eyes of the Russian consumers? Russian government controlled media report that the German government forces German citizens to eat old and spoiled food. Most Austrian food products are banned from the Russian market already.
    I apploud to Angela Merkel for not giving in to those, who would ideally like to replace with their tongues the toilet paper used in Kremlin.
    And I am actually quite surprised about your article which has not much to do with objective and informative "analytical and professional" cargo journalism.

  • #4

    Heiner Siegmund (Tuesday, 27 May 2014 16:57)

    Dear D. Burkard
    Thank you for submitting your thoughts and feelings on the Merkel / ILA report. The aim of CargoForwarder Global is to deliver the public newsworthy topics based on facts and figures. Fact is that Ruslan-Salis GmbH had been invited to present one of the An-124-100s operated on behalf of the company at the Berlin air show from beginning to end. Fact is also that the Chancellery told them on very short notice to remove the craft from the ILA ground during Frau Merkel's visit, although the freighter had just had come back from an Afghanistan mission conducted on behalf of the German Army. A third fact is that Leipzig-based Ruslan-Salis had invited customers for biz talks and to visit the An-124-100 at the ILA, including the inaugural day, spending some money for catering purposes etc.
    Those are - in short - the main aspects mentioned in the article, which we believe the members of the air cargo industry have a right to be informed about. If this does not meet your expectations regarding objective and informative cargo journalism we have to acknowledge this.
    However, what our factual report on the ILA incident has got to do with the food controversy mentioned by you is a mistery to me.
    Regards, HS