Just by accident I could photograph this Russian government IL-96 while I was standing in front of my house trying to catch some highflyers. Ilyushin IL-96-300 c/n 74393201011 RA-96017 was on its way to Schiphol airport in The Netherlands (EHAM) on 2 April 2013, undoubtedly in preparation of the state visit of Russian president Vladimir Putin to The Netherlands on 8 April, flying at over 4000 ft and about 4 km from my lens (as usual with government flights, the aircraft did not show up on flight radars, so I could not determine the exact height). The aircraft is one of 7 Il-96s operated by Rossya airlines for president Putin and his entorurage. At least three of them (RA-96012 RA-96016 and RA-96020) are used as flying command posts (the Russian :"Air Force Ones") with the designation IL-96-300PU, with PU being the Russian abbreviation for "Command Post". Of the other four aircraft (RA-96014, RA-96017, RA-96018 and RA-96019) at least two received a VIP-layout. RA-96017 was first delivered to KrasAir on 9 September 2004 and was taken over by state airline Rossya in May 2011. Rossya operates more than 30 aircraft on behalf of the Russian government.
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