Lease deal enables Armavia to take back Superjet

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Armenian flag-carrier Armavia is to resume operations with the Sukhoi Superjet 100, weeks after a financial dispute left the type parked.

Armavia, the first operator of the twinjet, postponed plans to take delivery of a second Superjet in a row which resulted in both being stored at Moscow Zhukovsky.

But Superjet International, the marketing venture for the type, says the aircraft is "ready to resume its commercial operations" with the Yerevan-based airline.

It adds that Superjet number 95007 - originally delivered to the carrier in April 2011 - was handed back to Armavia on 2 October "after the solution of the airline's financial issues" and will return to service, operating the Yerevan-Milan route, on 4 October.

Armavia had previously claimed that the Superjet's reliability had not met its expectations. But Sukhoi had insisted that the parking of the aircraft had been the result of financial wrangling, and that Armavia was trying to restructure its acquisition as a lease.

Superjet International confirms that the two sides have "agreed the terms" for the first aircraft and that they have signed a preliminary six-month lease agreement.

Under the deal Armavia will operate the aircraft while Sukhoi's civil aircraft division retains ownership. Once the six-month deal expires the parties will meet again to discuss further steps.

But the two sides are "continuing to discuss" the situation with the second aircraft, serial number 95021, delivery of which was postponed earlier this year.