Russian gas giant Gazprom's in-house carrier, Gazpromavia, has identified a requirement for 10 Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft.
Two years ago the carrier entered into negotiations with Sukhoi over the possible acquisition.
General manager Andrei Ovcharenko says the two sides are close to reaching a preliminary agremeent for the supply of 10 twin-jets.
"We plan to sign it shortly and follow up with a contract before the end of this year," he says, adding that Gazpromavia still needs to receive guarantees covering delivery terms and technical support.
The carrier has a mixed fleet including two Boeing 737s and several business jets, as well as several Soviet types - among them Tupolev Tu-154s, Yakovlev Yak-40s and Yak-42s.
Gazprom reportedly expects to take delivery of Superjet 100s in 2013-15.