Russia's Alrosa Air Enterprise has selected two western aircraft types as part of a plan to modernise its Soviet-built fleet.
The carrier, which is an in-house air transport division of diamond producer Alrosa, operates five Tupolev Tu-154M trijets as well as several Tu-134s and Antonov An-24/26 turboprops from its hub in Yakutia.
Andrei Tutayev, who advises Alrosa president on aviation projects, says it will lease three Boeing 737-800s to replace Tu-154s. The first delivery is due this summer and a further two by mid-2014.
The carrier has also decided to take financial leases on three Bombardier Q400s. "In the regional segment, this is the only new regional turboprop which has no restrictions on flights in cold-weather conditions," explains Tutayev. "It is also capable of taking off and landing on unpaved runways."
Both Alrosa's parent company and export credit agency of Canada are expected to provide backing for the planned deal between the airline and Bombardier.