Russian lessor Ilyushin Finance has signed a tentative agreement to take up to 30 Bombardier CSeries twinjets, a potential landmark deal for the type.
Ilyushin Finance is to acquire seven CS300s and three CS100s under a pact - so far amounting to a letter of intent - which includes options and purchase rights on another 20 aircraft.
"The aircraft leasing world is changing rapidly," said Ilyushin Finance director general Alexander Rubtsov, speaking during the MAKS Moscow air show.
He said older, less fuel-efficient aircraft were presenting "ongoing challenges" to the country's fleets.
Ilyushin Finance told Flightglobal its agreement marked the first time it had opted for such a large deal from a Western airframer, and that the 110- to 130-seat CSeries would be a candidate to replace mainline types, notably the Tupolev Tu-154.
"We have interest [from airlines]," the company added. "We think it will be really popular in Russian airline companies. They are interested in 130 seats, so it's very easy to sell it - we think it will be really popular.
"If the aircraft is as [Bombardier] says, it will be great and have a great future."
Ilyushin Finance is aiming to build a range of capacity to offer carriers, from the regional sector - the Antonov An-148 and An-158 - up to the United Aircraft MS-21 family. The lessor said the CSeries fits a segment between these types.
Source: Air Transport Intelligence news