Tupolev optimistic over Chinese Tu-204 freighter deal

Moscow
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Tupolev remains optimistic over prospects for executing a contract to supply a batch of Rolls-Royce-powered Tu-204-120CE freighters to a new Chinese customer.

The original deal with Air China Cargo was arranged by Sirocco Aerospace International and backed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, but has been held back after the first of the type was delivered to the airline in 2008.

Project director Oleg Alasheyev said that China's Xian Aviation Science and Technology Company has taken hold of the aircraft and ferried it to its base.

"To put it into operation, they want us to help in training cockpit crew," said Alasheyev. "They're also willing to acquire several freighters under our original contract [with Air China Cargo] and have made a payment of $33 million to the EBRD ahead of the next delivery."

Russian airframer Aviastar has the second aircraft in a turnkey position, with Rolls-Royce ready to ship the RB211 engines for it. Alasheyev said: "We could fit it out and hand it over in a month or two.

"The rub is that the EBRD has requested [Tupolev and Aviastar] to secure a number of conditions needed for disbursing funds. We're working on resolving these issues."