Russian postal service looks at Superjet and new Il-76

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Russia's national mail delivery service, Russia Post, is considering the possibility of ordering Sukhoi Superjet 100s or a modernised version of the Ilyushin Il-76.

The state-owned enterprise envisages taking four units of either of the two types to equip a newly-opened in-house air cargo division, says director Alexander Kiselyov.

"We signed a letter of intent with Sukhoi several years ago and are now ready to talk about a Superjet cargo variant," he adds, noting that the Il-76 variant - designated the Il-476 - also appears a viable proposition because the type has passed pre-production testing.

On 6 December, the as-yet unnamed air division of Russia Post introduced express delivery services between Khabarovsk and Komsomolsk-on-Amur - the Superjet assembly location - with a single wet-leased Let L-410 turboprop.

To expand its network to remote areas in Siberia and the Russian east, it aims to have six L-410s as well as two Antonov An-26 and two An-74 freighters by 2015.

Kiselyov says: "To meet demand for air mail delivery in the rest of remote regions, we'll need up to 50 L-410s. Under the business plan, new Superjet and Ilyushin freigthers could then operate in a shuttle mode on selected trunk routes."