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Cubana Il-96 deal clears way for more CIS airliner exports

Ilyushin-Finance to offer credit packages to ease foreign sales of locally built aircraft

Russian leasing company Ilyushin-Finance has submitted offers to supply CIS-built airliners to China, Egypt, Iran and Syria following the formalisation of a deal to place two Ilyushin Il-96-300Ms with Cuban flag carrier Cubana.

The lessor has secured permission from Moscow to offer foreign customers credit packages to facilitate Il-96, Antonov An-148 regional jet and Tupolev Tu-204 narrowbody sales as part of the government's export support initiative. "Now we can extend the terms of the Cubana deal to other countries," says Aleksandr Rubtsov, Ilyushin-Finance general director.

Vladimir Dmitriev, chairman of the Vnesheconombank bank for foreign economic activities, says: "For our bank and our associate RosExImBank, aircraft export deals are important as we are specialised establishments for the promotion of Russian non-raw-material exports. The export support initiative gives aircraft export deals an additional stability since the risks that aircraft manufacturers might have are to a large extent covered by the government."

The offer to the Syrian government is to meet flag carrier Syrianair's tender for four widebodies and five narrowbodies with the Il-96-300 and Tu-204-300, respectively. An Egyptian customer has been offered two An-148-100Es in VIP configuration, China four Il-96-400T freighters and Iran an unspecified number of Tu-204s. In Europe Antonov and Ilyushin-Finance are negotiating with "various leasing structures" on joint marketing of the An-148.

A typical credit package for an Il-96/Tu-204 export deal offers 85% of the total value of the contract in Russian or foreign currency for a term of 10-12 years, and comes with Russian government financial guarantees that are reflected in Russia's federal budget. Ilyushin-Finance offers optional aftersales logistics support and training packages using its facilities at Moscow's airports.

From 2005 to 2008, Ilyushin-Finance will receive an additional $1 billion in state funds to capitalise expansion of its aircraft leasing business.

VLADIMIR KARNOZOV/MOSCOW

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