THE US EXPORT-Import (Exim) Bank was expected to announce on 20 October that it is prepared to help finance the purchase of Westernised Ilyushin Il-96s by Aeroflot-Russian International Airlines (ARIA).

Russian economics minister Yevgeniy Yasin says, that Exim support for the $1 billion purchase of 20 Il-96M/Ts " practically predetermined". The first production aircraft, an Il-96T freighter, is due to be flown in December.

ARIA is seeking a loan to cover the US content in the Il-96M/T, which includes Pratt & Whitney PW2337 engines and Rockwell-Collins avionics.

ARIA has agreed to form an offshore trust company to control the assets. This will allow Exim to repossess the aircraft if the airline defaults on payments.

Boeing and McDonnell Douglas, which opposed the deal, will be compensated by the extension of a waiver of Russian tariffs, on the import of aircraft (nominally 50%) to seven years, from the previously agreed three years.

Source: Flight International