Russian carrier Red Wings' owner has proposed transferring control of the company to the government in the hope of progressing the Tupolev Tu-204SM project.

National Reserve Bank (NRB) chief Alexander Lebedev has published an open letter to prime minister Vladimir Putin, alerting him to the state of the nation's civil aircraft industry.

He indicated that launching the Tu-204SM serial manufacture at Ulyanovsk-based airframer Aviastar is crucial for its survival as a high technology sector as well as for the survival of 67 associated domestic component suppliers.

NRB-owned Red Wings is the only prospective customer for the Tu-204SM and is willing to take up to 44 of the type, production of which still hinges on as-yet-absent funding.

"Without securing this order, neither Aviastar nor [engine manufacturer] Perm Motors will survive," said Lebedev, adding that "assembling Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft from imported components cannot save the industry".

"Red Wings is a stable airline with a good standing in the charter market. Last year, it carried 1 million passengers and is valued at $60-70 million," said Lebedev in the letter.

"To help raise some backing for the aircraft industry and preserve jobs, I'm prepared to transfer the majority shareholding in the airline to the state property fund for free."

"Accordingly, I would have no relationship to the [Tu-204SM] project," concluded Lebedev.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news