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Moscovia signs preliminary deal for Tu-204s/An-148s

Moscow-based airline Moscovia has emerged as a single largest customer for the Tupolev Tu-204 and Antonov An-148 aircraft with a combined preliminary commitment for 24 jets.

The carrier, which was renamed from Gromov Air last year, is set to acquire nine passenger and six cargo Tu-204s as well as nine An-148s from lessor Ilyushin Finance.

The state arms trading agency Rosoboronexport owns 51% of the company with the rest held by the Gromov Flight Research Institute. Cash-rich Rosoboronexport is expected to provide financial backing for the aircraft acquisition deemed essential for Moscovia’s development plans.

Under the letter of intent, all deliveries are due between 2008 and 2010. Ilyushin Finance says a contract for the first batch, comprising three passenger and three freighter models of the Tu-204, should be signed before the year end.  

Moscovia general manager Mikhail Alexeyev says the airline is planning to transport at least 1.5 million passengers, up from 130,000 last year, after receiving its new aircraft.

“Our goal is to expand regular and charter services as well as air freight business both domestically and internationally,” he says, envisaging scheduled flights from Moscovia’s base airport Domodedovo to Irkutsk, Tomsk, Yakutsk, Tashkent, Dushanbe, Ashgabat and Baku.

Proposed charter passenger services will be to Bulgaria, Croatia, Turkey and Egypt. The airline also wants to use six Tu-204 freighters on cargo routes between Europe and China as well as for carrying out international relief missions sponsored by the UN

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