Sirocco Aerospace International is negotiating with Lufthansa Cargo to lease between eight and ten Tupolev Tu-204-120C freighters.

A deal which could see the aircraft introduced on Lufthansa's intra-European routes during 1999 is possible in the first half of 1998. Sirocco will not comment on the negotiations.

Sirocco already has 21 aircraft on firm order - 18 passenger variants and three cargo versions - and announced at the show that it had added Armenian Airlines to its list of customers for the Rolls-Royce RB.211-535-E4B version of the Tu-204.

The airline is leasing six aircraft, with the first deliveries scheduled to take place in 1998 and due to continue at the rate of two a year for three years.

Armenian joins Russian airline KrasAir, which is to lease eight Tu-204-120s and two -120Cs, and Air Cairo, which plans to lease three aircraft for a 210-seat, all-economy charter operation.

The first Sirocco-destined aircraft, built at the Russian Aviastar plant in Ulyanov, is scheduled to be delivered to Kras Air by the end of this year.

Dr Ibrahim Kamal, chairman of Cairo-based Sirocco, says that the company is now working hard to add Aeroflot to its list of customers.

The company faces competition from a rival's group'sTu-204 powered by the Perm Motors PS-90A.

Kamal says that the company is in advanced negotiations with a Western maintenance concern to provide product support. An announcement is expected to be made by year-end.

Source: Flight International