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Major Ilyushin-Finance order pumps up Russian industry

Lessor commits to 36h spare parts guarantee as it sets up initial deal for 24 aircraft

Leading Russian leasing company Ilyushin-Finance (IFC) has given Russian industry a major shot in the arm with what it says is the largest order for Russian aircraft factories since the demise of the Soviet Union. The deals for Antonov, Ilyushin and Tupolev aircraft cover an initial 24 units.

IFC, set up by Russia's National Reserve Bank (NRB) in 1999, has ordered and paid advances for an initial five Ilyushin Il-96-300s, seven Tupolev Tu-204s and 12 Antonov An-148 regional jets.

NRB, which along with the Russian government, is the principal IFC shareholder, is also a major minority shareholder in Aeroflot, and will shortly become the chief shareholder in VASO, the Voronezh factory where the Il-96 and Russian examples of the new An-148 regional jet are being manufactured.

Negotiations are under way with the Aviastar and KAPO (Kazan) plants for the Tu-204/Tu-214s, with RSK MiG also a possible "but unlikely" source, says IFC. It describes the orders as initial, intended to allow the factories to source the materials and components needed to undertake the work.

The lessor has committed to providing customers with a 36h guaranteed delivery of spares to their main bases, or a maximum of six days to any location worldwide. "This is a new concept for Russia's industry, which we have had to push them to implement," says IFC chief executive Alexander Roubstov. "So far, we have invested over $3 million in Il-96 spares, a figure that will grow to at least $10 million by late 2005."

The leasing company has already placed a number of Il-96s and Tu-204s with Russian airlines. Recent, or soon to be completed, deals include:

* six more Il-96s for Aeroflot, and two with English language cockpits for Cubana in the third quarter of next year;

* four short-fuselage, longer-range Tu-234s, the Tu-204 derivative, for Vladivostok Avia (the first is due for delivery shortly) ;

* 10 Tu-204s for Transaero - probably the Rolls-Royce RB211-535-powered -120;

* 12 An-148s for Russian launch customer Kras Air and 10 for Pulkovo. The first An-148 deliveries are targeted for mid-2006.

IFC has received funding from Russia's largest bank, Sberbank, and is in talks with other Russian banks.

PAUL DUFFY / MOSCOW

 

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