Russian lessor defends CSeries acquisition plan

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Russian lessor Ilyushin Finance has defended its acquisition of Bombardier CSeries aircraft, insisting it is not undermining the domestic aerospace industry.

Ilyushin Finance is awaiting final approval of an order for 32 CSeries. But the lessor stresses that its agreement is not a rejection of aircraft programmes developed by Russia's United Aircraft.

The CSeries fleet is being purchased for "the purpose of export to foreign airlines", it states.

"This contract will not affect, in any negative way, the development of the Russian aircraft industry and plans for production of domestic aircraft by United Aircraft," it adds.

It says it is acquiring 50 Irkut MS-21s, 33 Antonov An-148s and 20 Sukhoi Superjet 100s under its business plan, alongside the 32 Bombardier CS300s.

Ilyushin Finance also intends to pursue foreign operating leases for the MS-21s, under a pact with Irkut, and says it has a tentative agreement with Bombardier which will provide the MS-21 with access to the Canadian airframer's after-sales service network.

It claims the MS-21 will share 60% commonality on parts and equipment with the CS300. Both types will be powered by Pratt & Whitney geared-fan engines.

Ilyushin Finance says its decision to take the CS300s will not be to the "detriment" of the Russian industry. It says its acquisition plans will take its fleet - currently 24 Tupolev Tu-204s, 11 Ilyushin Il-96s, 10 An-148s and three An-124s - to 151 aircraft.