Transaero HAS revamped its plans to acquire 10 Tupolev Tu-204s, and will also take the higher gross weight Tu-214 version produced by the KAPO production plant in Kazan. The Moscow-based airline will be the lead operator of the 204/214 programme, and will share its batch of Tu-204/214s with Krasnoyarsk Airlines (KrasAir).

Transaero already has an order with Tupolev and the Aviastar plant for 10 Tu-204s. Although the new deal is for 10 Tu-214s, it is understood that the airline will initially take four aircraft from the Tatarstan-based plant, with the other six being the lower gross weight Tu-204 version built by Aviastar. All 10 aircraft are being funded by the Ilyushin Finance leasing company.

Alexander Pleshakov, chief executive of Moscow-based Transaero, says the final contract with KAPO defining concrete delivery dates and financial details, is expected to be signed by the end of the year. The deal is the first major commitment for the recently certificated Tu-214, with other customers including Dalavia (two aircraft) and Sibir, which is discussing an order for three of the Aviadvigatel PS-90-powered twinjets.

Transaero has agreed the joint deal with KrasAir, which will see KrasAir receive "three or four" of its 10 aircraft batch. Transaero also has interline agreements with Ural Airlines and Air Kazakhstan, and sources say that these airlines could link with the Moscow airline to acquire Tu-204/214s for their own fleets. This would see Transaero ordering additional Tu-204s orTu-214s, but probably from a single source which offered the best deal, say the sources.

An investment of at least $200 million is being sought to launch the Tu-214 programme. The local government of the republic of Tatarstan is supporting the project and has pledged to invest about $20 million through its financial leasing company established as a subsidiary of Tatneft, Tatarstan's oil company.

Source: Flight International