The first series production version of the Pratt & Whitney PW2000-powered Ilyushin Il-96, a-96T freighter, was rolled out at the VASO plant in Voronezh on 26 April. The Russian prime minister, Victor Chernomyrdin, attended the ceremony, stressing the political significance of the event.

Twenty of the PW2337-powered aircraft - also equipped with Rockwell-Collins avionics - have been ordered by Aeroflot Russian International Airlines (ARIA), backed by a US Exim bank loan. The Il-96T can carry 92t of cargo on standardised pallets over distances of 11,500km (6,200nm).

ARIA expects to take delivery of the first aircraft, a freighter, by the end of this year following the completion of flight and certification testing by the Air Registry. Two more freighters, plus the first of 17 Il-96M passenger aircraft, are scheduled to be delivered in 1997, with the remaining 16 following between 1999 and 2002.

The ceremony at Voronezh also saw the official handing over of the type certificate for the Ilyushin Il-114 regional turboprop, which is produced at the TAPO plant in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Nikolay Talikov, Il-114 chief designer, says that a leasing company with participation of leading Uzbekistani banks is being formed to finance production. Talikov says that several aircraft have been ordered by operators in Uzbekistan and other CIS Central Asian republics.

Source: Flight International