Aeroflot Russian International Airlines is studying a scheme to lease nine Tupolev Tu-214 twinjets from 2003 to help with its fleet renewal programme.

The Tu-214, built by KAPO- Kazan Aircraft Production Factory in Tatarstan, is an increased weight version of the Aviadvigatel PS-90-powered Tu-204-100 produced by Aviastar in Ulyanovsk. Talks on the deal advanced during a visit to the plant by airline chief Valery Okulov.

The 200-seaters are being acquired through a lease finance deal to replace 12 of Aeroflot's inefficient Tupolev Tu-154 tri-jets. Okulov says that the details of the financing scheme have not been finalised, but Tatarstan prime minister Rustam Minnikhanov says the authorities are to look into it.

The Tu-214 is in the middle of flight testing, with the project funded predominantly by Tatarstan. Testing is to be completed in the first half of this year when it will receive its Russian certification.

KAPO has seven airframes at various stages of assembly, with the production of 11 more currently planned. Tupolev director Yuri Vorobyov says that KAPO will complete the production of the first two series production Tu-214s this year.

Source: Flight International