Russian authorities are hoping to improve the commercial potential of the Ilyushin Il-96 family after completing ‘hot and high’ tests with a Cuban-operated example of the type in Ecuador.

The tests involved one of the Il-96-300s, registered CU-T1251, delivered to Cuban flag-carrier Cubana de Aviación towards the end of last year.

More than ten flights were conducted by the aircraft between Havana and the high-altitude airports at Quito and Latacunga – located some 2,800m (9,190ft) above sea level.

The aircraft (pictured on Russian television below at the VASO plant in Voronezh at its roll-out ceremony) was equipped with Perm PS-90A engines. Perm was among the participants in the test, along with representatives from Ilyushin design bureau, the Interstate Aviation Committee, and Russian certification authorities.

Cubaba Il-96 W445

Perm says that, following the tests, the certification of the Il-96-300 will shortly be supplemented and that the results could, in the future, be “disseminated to the entire Il-96 family”.

It states: “This addition will considerably enlarge the operating conditions of the aircraft and will increase its commercial attractiveness.”

Engine firm Aviadvigatel’s deputy project leader Valery Chernov says: “The engines proved their reliability and ensure the flight safety of the aircraft under difficult conditions.”

Similar tests are set to be performed on Tupolev Tu-204 aircraft being supplied to Cuba