If there is any silver lining to Russia's recent economic woes, it has revived interest in a VIP version of the Tupolev Tu-204.

United Aircraft chief executive Yuri Slyusar said on 15 June he believes the VIP version long-range twin-jet is more competitive now, thanks to his country's economic situation.

"With the recent economic changes – the weakening of the ruble – we think there is a case for a business jet version of this aircraft because it's a modern aircraft for 38 passengers with a range of 9,600km, which will sell for about $50 million," Slyusar says.

UAC's focus on the commercial front is ramping up production of the Sukhoi Superjet and completing development of the Irkut MC-21, but the Tu-204 production still continues.

UAC's business plan calls for producing six to eight Tu-204s annually to a mix of commercial, special mission and VIP customers.

In 2010, Russia's Interstate Aviation Committee approved certification of a VIP variant, designated the Tu-204-300A.

Source: FlightGlobal.com