Red Wings considers A321s as suitable A320s prove elusive

Moscow
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Lack of suitable Airbus A320 aircraft has forced Russian start-up carrier Red Wings to consider introducing the larger A321 as an alternative.

The carrier is searching for up to a dozen Airbus narrowbodies to complement its fleet of Tupolev Tu-204s it has six of the type and should take delivery of three more before the year is out.

"It's not that there are no available aircraft," explains general manager Konstantin Teterin to Flight's premium affilicate ATI. "Rather, they don't meet our needs in terms of price and quality. We're looking for the jets not older than five years and in good technical condition."

The carrier would have opted for acquiring brand-new A320s, but for the customs price hike on imported aircraft.

"Hence our aim is to identify and take financial or operating lease on 10 to 12 lower-priced second-hand aircraft with relatively short after-shop life, to make sure that they don't entail major overhaul issues," said Teterin.

He claims Red Wings is already Russia's 10th-largest cross-border carrier. "Provided with sufficient capacity and its appropriate allocation, we could sustain high growth rate both internationally and domestically," he says, adding that Red Wings expects 500,000 passengers this year against last year's 97,000.