Ian Sheppard/TASHKENT

Aero International (Regional) (AI(R)) has delivered the first Western-built regional jet to a CIS carrier.

The first of three AI(R) Avro RJ85 Avroliners for national carrier Uzbekistan Airways arrived in Tashkent on 7 July.

Buying the aircraft is part of the airline's push to replace ageing Yakovlev Yak-40s and Antonov An-24s on its primary tourist routes. The second aircraft, fitted out for the VIP role, is due to be delivered in September, and the third will arrive early in 1998.

The RJ85 received a temporary operating certificate from the Interstate Aviation Committee of the CIS in the week before delivery, and AI(R) will be working closely with the airline, introducing the aircraft into the often-harsh operating environment. Uzbekistan Airways already flies a handful of Western-built airliners, including two Airbus A310-300s, one Boeing 757 (VIP-configured) and two Boeing 767-300ERs.

The Uzbekistan Government contributed half of the $80 million price for the three-aircraft deal, while the European Commission is funding the rest.

AI(R)has also concluded an agreement with the Tashkent Aircraft Production Organisation (TAPO), which manufactures the Ilyushin Il-114 and Il-76, on a joint venture to produce components for the RJ family. The TAPO will initially manufacture five shipsets.

Source: Flight International