Russian carrier Dalavia aims to use the Tupolev Tu-204/214 twinjet for its fleet renewal programme to allow it to phase out ageing Ilyushin Il-62s and Tu-154s.

The Khabarovsk-based airline became the first operator to take delivery of a Tu-214 in May, and received a second in October. The Tu-214 is a higher weight, extended-range version of the Tu-204.

According to Dalavia general director Pavel Sevastianov, a third airframe could be delivered to Dalavia by mid-2002: "I am set to continue with our plans to replace all Il-62s with Tu-214s, and am certain we can afford one more aircraft now," he says.

Dalavia plans to take six Tu-214s to replace its seven Il-62s and then acquire additional Tu-204s or Tu-214s to replace seven Tu-154s.

Earlier this year Dalavia and Russian leasing company FLC successfully bid for government financial support for six additional Tu-214s. "Before taking that many aircraft we need to amass operational experience and pay off short-term credits," says Sevastianov.

The airline is in talks on whether it qualifies for state financial support as an operator of an indigenously produced airliner. "If that is successful, we will certainly take more Tu-214s," Sevastianov says.

Source: Flight International