Paul Duffy/SHANNON

AEROFLOT-RUSSIAN International Airlines (ARIA) is to acquire two McDonnell Douglas (MDC) DC-10-30F freighters to expand its cargo services to the USA and the Far East. The aircraft are expected to arrive in Moscow by the middle of August, for introduction into service in September.

The lease of the two aircraft has been arranged, by an associate company, Aeroflot Leasing. Unconfirmed reports suggest that the DC-10s are being leased from MDC Finance, after conversion from standard passenger configuration by Aeronavali in Italy. Both are believed to be former Bangladesh Biman aircraft. Airframe and engine maintenance will be undertaken by Air France, under a five-year contract.

ARIA has given high priority to upgrading its freighter fleet. Its three Tupolev Tu-154Cs are being withdrawn, to be replaced by four new Tu-204Cs, with the first already in service. The 19-strong Ilyushin Il-76T/TD fleet has been active for the last 15 years, but will soon come up against Stage 3 noise restrictions, and are expensive to operate. Two Antonov An-124-100s are operated in a joint venture with the Universal Trading House. The first ten of the new-generation Il-96Ts - with PW2037 engines - are expected to be delivered as freighters from late 1996.

The expansion comes against a background of improving cargo performance for the Russian carrier, which reported in 1994 a traffic growth of 5%, compared with 1993.

Avkom, a Moscow Sheremetyevo-based operator specialising in executive flights, also operates a single ex-World Airways DC-1030F freighter, delivered in December 1994, on charters from Amsterdam and Moscow.

Source: Flight International