The need to replace ageing fleets combined with strong traffic growth has led major Russian airlines to look at new options for aircraft acquisitions. Aeroflot will call for tenders to supply "up to 50" 70- to 100-seat regional jets to replace its 15 Tupolev Tu-134s and expand its short-haul route network.

Possible contenders for this order would be the locally produced, Sukhoi-led, Russian Regional Jet (RRJ), as well as the Bombardier CRJ700/900 and Embraer 170/190 families. Russian import duties and value-added tax, currently totalling 41.6%, will be a factor in this order.

UT Air, which has lost market share due to capacity shortages, has issued a tender for five medium-range airliners in the Airbus A320/Boeing 737 category to boost capacity on its trunk routes. It says no Russian-manufactured jets will be available in the timespan these aircraft are required. The airline will also announce the winner of its tender for the supply of six regional turboprops this month. The ATR 42 and Bombardier Dash 8 are in the running.

Sibir is expected to announce a decision on regional aircraft soon with the RRJ the prime candidate, but choice of order method is not yet specified.

St Petersburg-based Pulkovo has also circulated a request to leasing companies on proposals for either A320s or 737s, and has also begun talks with Russian manufacturers about acquiring Tupolev Tu-234s and Tu-334s.



Source: Flight International