Alexander Velovich/MOSCOW

Leading Russian airline Transaero plans to acquire a further 16 Boeing aircraft by the turn of the century. The first batch, two Boeing 737-700s, will join the fleet under a lease deal with Bavaria Flug in December.

Two more Boeing 767-300s will be delivered in March 1998 from International Lease Finance. Before the end of 1997, Transaero plans to sign a contract with Boeing for the delivery of four 737-700s and two 757s in 2000, with further deliveries of two 737-700s, two 757s and two 767s due in 2001.

While the airline has so far looked toward Western airframe manufacturers, it says that it is also considering the Ilyushin Il-96M/T widebody. It will watch closely Aeroflot Russian International Airline's operational experience with the aircraft, and is likely to follow suit in ordering the Pratt & Whitney powered version of the aircraft. This, however, will depend to some degree on the availability of finance from the US Exim bank.

The airline is also to create a regional operation, called Transaero-Express, and is considering the purchase of Ilyushin Il-114s or Antonov An-140s with which to launch the new service.

Transaero says that in the first eight months of this year, the company carried more than 1 million passengers, a 9% increase on 1996.

Overall, scheduled passengers numbers rose, but the charter business plummeted by 41%. The company says higher fleet utililisation of its existing Western fleet has been key to its improving financial fortunes.

Source: Flight International