Four top Russian banks have signed a framework agreement with Sukhoi on joint funding for the Russian Regional Jet (RRJ) programme.

Sberbank, Vnesheconombank, Vneshtorgbank and Roseximbank have entered a "long-term relationship" on the RRJ programme that is being led by Sukhoi's civil aircraft division, ZAO GSS.

The banks are considering purchasing stakes in ZAO GSS, as well as participating in RRJ marketing and leasing.

Sberbank president Andrei Kazmin says: "The market demand for a modern regional jet is obvious, so our decision is logical."

Vladimir Dmitriev, Vnesh­econombank chairman, says that as a specialised organisation promoting Russian exports, "we will be participating in the project together with French banks and those from other Western countries".

Andrei Kostin, Vneshtorgbank president and chairman, says it is backing the RRJ project "because it is aimed primarily for export, and Russia has in place a state programme for export support. The risks that the manufacturer may have will be covered in greater part by the government."

The four banks are guaranteeing that the project will be funded in full, says Kostin, adding: "We are considering use of the cheaper Western capital and credit lines under state guarantees...each of our banks alone can do it, but we are getting together for greater stability."

Vneshtorgbank is taking the lead role in RRJ funding among the Russian banks, and is to provide up to $195 million over the next 10 years. Sukhoi has so far spent $70 million of its own funds on the RRJ development effort out of $700 million required for the airframe and some systems.


Source: Flight International