Russian far east carrier DalAvia is finalising a deal for 20-25 Sukhoi Superjet (SSJ) 100s to replace its ageing Antonov An-24s and Tupolev Tu-154Bs.

According to sources at Sukhoi Civil Aircraft, a contract for up to 25 SSJs is expected to be signed by year-end.

Khabarovsk-based DalAvia, officially known as Federal Unitary Enterprise Far East Airlines, is discussing a tie-up with Aeroflot under which DalAvia would provide the basis for a proposed Aeroflot far east division. This would be formed next year if the Russian government hands over to Aeroflot its control of DalAvia and its 51% stake in fellow far east airline Vladivostok Avia.

Aeroflot director for route network development Aleksandr Kanishev says the Russian flag carrier is negotiating with both far east airlines about the terms of their merger with Aeroflot. "We would restructure their network around one hub for the whole region - most likely in Khabarovsk," he says. This would enable effective use of Boeing 767s on long-haul services to the region and feeder services from local airports to Khabarovsk using SSJs.

Source: Flight International