KAPO considers remarketing incomplete Tu-214s to military

Moscow
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Russian aircraft manufacturer KAPO appears to be seeking an opportunity to remarket incomplete Tupolev Tu-214 twinjets, citing the need for working capital to finance construction.

Under a tripartite deal signed in 2005, the Kazan-based airframer was to supply 10 passenger Tu-214s to Finance Lease Company (FLC) for Transaero. To date, it has supplied only three. The Tu-214 is a higher-gross-weight version of the Tu-204 built by Aviastar in Ulyanovsk.

General manager Vasil Kayumov says that KAPO cannot go ahead with building more aircraft on order from Transaero because the plant stopped receiving advance payments from FLC in August 2008.

"Therefore, following a decision of the governing board, we are considering offering them to a third-party customer," he says, identifying Russia's defence ministry as a prospective buyer of a pair of Tu-214s. Six of the type are in various stages of construction.

Transaero insists its agreement with FLC and KAPO remains valid. "We honour all our obligations and make lease payments [for the three Tu-214s] as they come due," says the airline. "We're ready to acquire the rest of the batch as soon as aircraft are available."

According to a source familiar with the defence ministry's thinking, placing an order with KAPO for the Tu-214s, refurbished to military specifications, looks viable.

Earlier this year, United Aircraft chief Alexei Fyodorov, in a letter to Russian deputy premier Sergei Ivanov, claimed that FLC had defaulted on a number of its debts to banks. FLC could not be reached for comment.