Sirocco Aerospace has signed a deal selling Tupolev Tu-204s to two Chinese airlines. The deal will see the Egyptian-owned company supply China Southwest and China Northwest with five Tupolev Rolls-RoyceTu-204-120C freighters. The agreement also covers 10 options.

Tom Smith, chief executive of Sirocco, says the first aircraft will be delivered by early 2003.China Southwest will operate its three Tu-204s on domestic routes and services to Japan. China Northwest plans to use the aircraft mainly on domestic routes.

Smith says he is unable to put a value of the initial contract, as equipment negotiations are ongoing. As part of the deal, Sirocco will open a spares support warehouse in China. Smith says he has been in talks with other Chinese airlines, and further aircraft orders are expected before the end of the year.

Smith says the company is evaluating other markets for the aircraft, including the Middle East, for passenger variants and express carriers for the freight version. Its only customer to date for the Rolls-Royce RB-211-535E4B powered aircraft are a number of leased aircraft to Air Cairo.

Source: Flight International