Cubana signs for Il-96s and Tu-204SMs

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Cuba's national carrier Cubana has added passenger Ilyushin Il-96-400s and Tupolev Tu-204SMs to its future commitments for Russian-built aircraft.

Under a preliminary agreement, concluded with leasing company Ilyushin Finance, Cubana intends to acquire three converted Il-96-400s.

The lessor has not disclosed the source of the aircraft but they could potentially be converted from three freighters which were supplied to the cargo division of Russian carrier Polet in 2009.

In addition, Cubana has placed an order for two Tu-204SMs. Both aircraft are expected to be available following the completion of type certification tests by the summer.

The two sides have also signed a follow-up agreement, under which Cubana is to receive three out of six previously-ordered Antonov An-158s in March, June and August this year.

Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev attended the signing ceremony in Havana. Industry minister Denis Manturov estimates the value of the deal at $650 million and says it will be funded through a commercial line of credit from Russian banks under sovereign guarantees.