The Russian Aviation Consortium (RAC) has set up a leasing company to help in its efforts to place the Tupolev Tu-204 with Russian airlines. Certification of the Tu-204Ccargo version and increased-take-off-weight Tu-214 are also now expected in March.

The new Moscow Aviation International (MAIC) leasing company has guaranteed to source up to $300 million from Western financial institutions to fund the first 20 Perm/Aviadvigatel PS90A-powered Tu-204s, aimed at 1997 production. A minimum target of $129 million has been pledged.

Negotiations are already taking place with Western banks, including Credit Suisse and Kredit Anschtaldt, while RAC has also submitted proposals to the Russian Government to obtain state guarantees for part of the funding.

Takevos Sourniov, general director of the RAC and in-coming chairman of Tupolev, says that three additional Tu-204s will be delivered to Vnukovo Airlines in the first half of this year. He adds that Vnukovo, Donavia and the Kazan Aircraft Production Factory, which produces the Tu-214, have also joined the original grouping of aerospace and aviation companies behind the RAC.

Tupolev general director Valentin Klimov confirms that Russian certification tests have been completed on the Tu-204C cargo version. He expects approval of both the Tu-204C and Tu-214 to be received in "late March".

Klimov projects total deliveries of up to 35 aircraft in 1997, including five Rolls-Royce RB.211-powered versions to Kato/Siroccco, 20 for MAIC and another ten PS-90A-powered units.

Mikhail Kuzmenko, general designer of Aviadvigatel, says that the engine bureaux will get a boost from the deliveries. Output in 1995 reached only five engines and ten in 1996.

Source: Flight International