Cuba and Zimbabwe take advantage of export financing to buy variety of aircraft

Cuba and Zimbabwe have signed agreements with Russia to acquire Ilyushin and Tupolev airliners and take advantage of Russian government export financing.

Zimbabwe aims to take 10-20 Il-96s and Tu-204s. Zimbabwe’s National Reserve Bank president Gedeon Gono and transport minister Christopher Mushohwe signed an initial agreement with their Russian counterparts in Moscow in April calling for delivery of five Il-96s, including three -400T freighters and two -400M passenger aircraft.

Deliveries will start in 2008 from the Voronezh VASO plant via lessor Ilyushin-Finance. The deal is valued at $500 million. The firm contract is to be signed by July.

Meanwhile, Ilyushin-Finance general director Aleksandr Rubtsov and Cubana Aviacion president Ricardo Santilian have signed a firm contract for two additional VIP versions of the Il-96-300, two Tu-204-100 passenger aircraft and a Tu-204-100C freighter.

The order follows delivery of a second Il-96-300VIP under a 2003 contract worth $110 million, of which $95 million was provided by Russian banks. The second contract will use $325 million of Russian government-sponsored credit.

Cubana and second Cuban carrier AeroCaribbean also seek 20-30 regional aircraft to replace Antonov An-24s and leased ATR 42/72s.

Cubana says it is negotiating with ATR for new ATR 72s and with China for Xian MA60s. Russia is offering Il-114s, VASO-manufactured Antonov An-148s and Aviacor-assembled An-140s.

Source: Flight International