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Red Wings to add 10 more Tu-204s to fleet

Russian carrier Red Wings, which restarted operations in June, intends to more than double its Tupolev Tu-204 fleet by 2017.

Deputy director of business development Yevgeny Klyucharev says management has adopted a plan for taking financial leases on additional aircraft and launching new services.

Red Wings lost one of its Tu-204s in a crash in December 2012. It operates seven of the type, but is looking to acquire 10 more over the next three years through leasing company Ilyushin Finance.

"Together with the industry and trade ministry and Tupolev design bureau, we're working on defining technical specifications for the Tu-204s to be built for us," says Klyucharev.

"Hopefully, during the upcoming MAKS air show in Moscow we'll sign a memorandum of understanding covering the supply of 10 aircraft, with deliveries starting in 2014."

Kazan-based airframer KAPO is able to produce up to 40 modernised Tu-204SMs and 20 special purpose Tu-214s, says its president Alexander Bobryshev.

"Their purchase price will depend on size of the order," he adds. "The supply agreement will also cover aircraft aftersales support."

Red Wings operates scheduled services from Moscow Vnukovo airport to Kaliningrad, Krasnodar, Makhachkala and Simferopol. In the autumn, it is to launch flights to Ekaterinburg, Omsk, Sochi and Ufa.

"After we receive a pair of new Tu-204s in 2014, we'll add services to Anapa, Kazan and Samara as well as to some cities in Central Asia," says Klyucharev. "Under our plan, annual traffic should increase to 1.5 million passengers, up from half a million this year."

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