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Russian airliners get sales lift at MAKS

Russia's mainline airliner programmes received a domestic and overseas sales lift at the MAKS air show in Moscow. Deals at the event accounted for 36 orders for Tupolev Tu-204s and derivatives, with 26 options, and six orders for Ilyushin Il-96s and derivatives with one option.

Brazil's Clean Air signed a letter of intent with Ilyushin Finance for two Il-96-300s and four Tu-204SM passengers jets and two Tu-204SM cargo derivatives. Ecuador's Icaro is also taking two Tu-204SM for cargo with an option for a third.

Cielos of Peru wants two Il-96-400T freighters, and a possible third.

In addition, the Russian government says it will by formalise an order for two special-edition Il-96-300s for the Special Presidential Air Detachment by the end of the year, to secure 2010 federal budget funding for delivery in 2011.


North Korea confirmed it is taking one more Tu-204 within a year. This will be its second, but will be the baseline -100 version rather than the shrunk -300 version operated since January 2008 by the nation's only carrier, Air Koryo.

Meanwhile, Iran Airtour confirmed its order for five Tu-204s with options for 25 more. It converted the order from -100s to the upgraded Tu-204SM version, but postponed delivery to 2011.

The Iranian transport ministry held talks with Tupolev parent United Aircraft on licence-production of 100 Tu-204SMs at HESA in Esfahan, abandoning earlier plans for Iranian production to include a mix of the -100 variant.

The SM differs from the -100 with more advanced Perm PS-90A2 turbofans replacing earlier PS-90As and a lighter structure that reduces empty operating weight from 63t to 60t, assuming 210 economy-class passengers. The SM maintains maximum take-off weight at 105t, with an option to go to 111t, which would increase the full-cabin range to from 4,500km (2,430nm) from 3,680km and cut operating expenses by 10-15%.

Meanwhile, Transaero and S7 were said to be negotiating for the Tu-204SM, and Ilyushin finance and the airline ATu signed for two Tu-204C freighters, to be delivered next year on 15-year financial lease terms. ATu, which employs former Tupolev test pilots, already operates five Tu-204s.

MAKS marked the public debut of RA-64010, the first VIP Tu-204. The aircraft, built in the mid-1990s as a Tu-204-100, was reworked by its maker Aviastar-SP into a shrunk -300A version, with added fuel tanks. More work remains to fit interior items before the aircraft enters corporate transport service with VneshTorgBank.

Lastly, Tupolev's KAPO plant and the Bank of St Petersburg agreed funding to build one special mission Tu-214ON - the standard Tu-204-200, fitted with land surveillance equipment. The aircraft will be used for the 34-nation Open Skies programme (ON in Cyrillic), in which countries monitor each other's military activity using surveillance equipment of an agreed, limited resolution.