Aviastar has received an order from Russian leasing company Ilyushin-Finance for three Aviadvigatel PS-90-powered Tu-204-100s as the first stage of October's agreement to order 46 aircraft for delivery over the next six years (Flight International, 12-18 November).

Yuri Koptev, general director of Russian aerospace agency Rosaviakosmos says the country's industry should be prepared to fulfil orders for "more than 90" Tu-204s over the next few years: "The state will complete transfer of cash to Ilyushin-Finance in the first quarter of 2003, which will allow the massive Tu-204 order to be completed," he says.

According to Koptev, critical to the Tu-204's future is the development of the improved PS-90A2 engine that "should be ready within 12-18 months". He admits that its creation "is impossible without investment from Pratt & Whitney".

The US engine builder has a long-standing association with thePS-90's manufacturing plant PMZ in Perm, with its parent United Technologies holding a 25% shareholding - the maximum allowed by a foreign investor under Russian law. If this can be overcome then the shareholding could be increased.

Koptev says that priced at $25 million, the PS-90-powered Tu-204-100 is aimed primarily at the Russian and CIS markets, while the $33-35 million RB211-powered Tu-204-120 supported by Sirocco Aerospace is more suited to overseas operators. He adds that airlines in several CIS countries are interested in the Tu-204-100, in particular Ukraine, where airlines are seeking 10-12 aircraft.

Source: Flight International