Transaero stays loyal to Tu-214 but considers Tu-204SM

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Russian airline Transaero has reiterated its commitment to acquiring its outstanding Tupolev Tu-214s but is also considering the modernised Tu-204SM variant.

The carrier's three leased Tu-214s are the only domestically-produced jets among its otherwise all-Boeing fleet of 44 aircraft.

Under an investment deal with the Russian Government signed in 2004, Transaero committed to acquiring 10 Tu-214s that were initially due for delivery before 2008.

"We've learned to use them gainfully for domestic and cross-border flights lasting up to six hours and are keen to take the rest of the batch," Transaero director Olga Pleshakova tells ATI.

But she adds that Transaero is prepared to consider the upgraded Tu-204SM if and when it becomes available - although this would involve converting the entire Tu-214 order "to replace all 10 models for the sake of fleet unification".

Pleshakova says the proposed United Aircraft MS-21 appealing to Transaero. "Our representative participates in the technical advisory panel for the MS-21," she says. "It basically fits into our dominant medium-to-range route network and is designed to succeed Tu-204/214s in due course."

But the airline will not be a custome for the Sukhoi Superjet 100. "We don't provide regional services," says Pleshakova. "We have only four routes on which these aircraft could be deployed. This does not make a business case for acquiring them."