Russian airline Polet has taken delivery of its first Ilyushin Il-96-400T freighter after completing technical support arrangements and a personnel training programme.
The Voronezh-based carrier is to put the aircraft into revenue service on 27 September on the route between Moscow Domodedovo airport and Yakutsk.
Under the agreement with lessor Ilyushin Finance, Polet will take 15-year financial leases on two more new Il-96s shortly, with an option for the supply of another three to be signed next year.
All six aircraft, built by Voronezh airframer VASO, were originally slated for Aeroflot-Cargo, which effectively cancelled the order last year.
Polet's cargo division currently provides outsize freight charter services using six Antonov An-124-100s.
Co-owner and director general Anatoly Karpov says it will exploit the new freighter type both on scheduled and charter routes domestically and, eventually, on cross-border services.
Russian cities chosen for the Il-96 long-haul sevices also include Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk, Ulan Ude, Khabarovsk, Petropavlosk-Kamchatsky, Anadyr, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Bratsk and Abakan.