Red Wings plans TU-204SM order

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Moscow-based charter operator Red Wings is intending to place a launch order for the modernised Tupolev Tu-204SM twin-jet, if the Government props up the planned deal.

Although Tupolev's latest aircraft has begun test flights, the project is in limbo following the demise of Moskva Airlines, which was the only launch customer for the type.

Red Wings owner, National Reserve Corporation, last year signalled an interest in acquiring up to 40 Tu-204SMs but made a deal conditional on meeting a host of across-the-board requirements.

"Apart from aircraft technical specifications and residual value, we want guarantees covering the delivery schedule, crew training and after-sales support," Red Wings director Konstantin Teterin tells ATI.

"Tupolev, the manufacturer and the lessor cannot resolve these issues on their own. They call for adopting amendments to the government programme of the development of the aviation industry."

Alongside the interested parties, Red Wings is in talks with the industry and trade ministry to find a comprehensive solution to its concerns and reach a viable purchase agreement.

Teterin is optimistic of striking a deal over the next month and stresses the carrier's crucial need to expand its fleet well beyond eight Tu-204 -100s.

He says Red Wings has gained experience in operating this type efficiently, with each aircraft accumulating around 3,500 flight hours in 2010, and is keen to receive more advanced Tu-204SM models.

After Teterin's managerial contract expired on 15 January, the airline's owner extended it for two years to let him complete carrying out fleet modernisation and network expansion projects.