Aeroflot Russian International Airlines (ARIA) has long-term plans to buy Tupolev Tu-204s, says the carrier's general director Marshal Yergeny Shapsahnikov. The plan was outlined in a public statement designed to diffuse the political row over the airline's recent order for ten Boeing 737-400s (Flight International, 25 September - 1 October).

Shapsahnikov says that the order for the Western airliners is only a stop-gap measure and that ARIA remains committed to the Tu-204, although he adds that the carrier is not satisfied with the performance of the current Aviadvigatel/Perm PS-90A engine and may choose another power plant.

The statement was made after a visit from Government officials of Russia's Tatarstan Republic, which is home to the Kazan manufacturing plant where the Tu-214 increased-gross-weight version of the aircraft is to be built. The Tatarstan Government has been among the most vocal critics of ARIA's 737 order.

ARIA has a requirement for up to 40 short/medium-haul aircraft to replace its ageing fleet of 13 Tupolev Tu-134s. It also seeks substitutes for its 33 younger, but uneconomic, Tu-154s.

Source: Flight International