Russia's NRC looks to offload 15 A320s

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Russia's National Reserve Corporation (NRC) is seeking to remarket 15 Airbus A320s before their scheduled delivery next year.

NRC-owned investment firm Alpstream placed an order in 2008 for the aircraft with the aim of supplying them to German carrier Blue Wings which was part-owned by NRC.

Following Blue Wings' demise in 2010, the aircraft delivery was pushed back to 2012 from 2010.

NRC had considered shifting the A320 order to its Moscow-based carrier Red Wings, which would also have taken eight of the type previously in service with Blue Wings.

However, Red Wings director, Konstantin Teterin, tells ATI that this plan was abandoned following a decision to stick to a single-type fleet, ahead of an agreement covering the supply of up to 44 Tupolev Tu-204SMs.

NRC board chairman Alexander Lebedev had also looked to Aeroflot, in which NRC has a 15% stake, to take the A320s and he has approached Vnesheconombank's leasing arm for a deal to remarket the Airbus jets on the domestic market.

Although both proposals were rejected, Lebedev remains confident of finding customers for A320s. He says NRC has initiated talks with several airlines to this effect and is expecting to reach an agreement in March.

"It could envisage either a direct purchase or lease arrangement and provide for delivery starting in 2011," he adds.