The Russian Government has authorised guarantees of $150 million for the manufacture of 20 Tupolev Tu-204s with Perm/Aviadvigatel PS-90A engines for Moscow Aviation International Leasing (MAIL).

MAIL is an associate company of the consultancy headed by chess world master and entrepreneur Gary Kasparov. The consultancy's chief executive Peter Smith confirms that the approval of the guarantees would allow the company to complete its financing arrangements with Western bankers.

Moscow-based MAIL, which has also received a leasing licence, says that the deliveries from Aviastar will begin six months after the finance is put in place, at a rate of one a month.

MAIL initially plans to target airlines from Russia, offering lease rates of "under $300,000 per month" for a "minimum" period of three years. Smith also says that the costs of deposits and training will be less than the overhaul costs needed to put an ageing Tupolev Tu-154 back into service. The leasing company is discussing "power-by-the-hour" arrangements for the PS-90A engines and maintenance arrangements, he says.

Western equipment on the aircraft will be at a minimum, including fittings, avionics and a satellite navigation system.

- A group of 20 Egyptian entrepreneurs is reported to have formed Cairo Air, a private airline with capital of $58 million, to operate Rolls-Royce RB.211-535E4-powered Tu-204s ordered by Egypt's Kato Group.

Source: Flight International