Russia’s Ural Airlines is poised to introduce its first western-built aircraft, an ex-Nouvelair Tunisie Airbus A320 (pcitured below).

The Bermuda-registered aircraft (VP-BQY) is the first of six A320s that the airline plans to acquire, with one more due to arrive this year and the remaining four in 2007. In August, Ural signed a five-year maintenance, repair and overhaul contract with Lufthansa Technik for the aircraft.

The fleet expansion will allow Ural Airlines to increase traffic this year by 180,000 passengers, up 20% from 2005. The A320s will be used primarily on routes from its Ekaterinburg Koltsovo hub to Moscow and European destinations. Ural’s existing jet fleet comprises ageing Ilyushin Il-86s and Tupolev Tu-134s and Tu-154s.

Ural Air Airbus A320
© Philippe Cano