MAPO aims to reach a production rate of 24 Tupolev Tu-334 twinjets a year by 2007, but will need over $300 million to fund the production programme. It plans to utilise cash earned from its military export contracts to fund the production launch.

The Moscow-based production plant was recently cleared by the Russian Government to establish itself as the lead assembly and marketing centre for the Tupolev designed 100-seater (Flight International, 27 October - 2 November).

The company is in the process of receiving documentation from the design bureau and the Aviant production plant in Kiev.

After years in the doldrums, the Tu-334 programme is beginning to move up a gear, with the aircraft due to make its international debut at the Dubai Air Show this week. By the end of the year, MAPO plans to begin discussions with Russian airlines over their configuration requirements, as well as potential leasing schemes and the production schedule.

Nickolay Nikitin, MAPO general designer and general director, says an initial $68 million is needed to complete the development and certification tests and launch series production. Nikitin says a co-operation agreement with the Aviant plant is being negotiated, with a 50/50 production split being proposed.

According to the business plan, an overall capital outlay of $309 million is needed for manufacturing infrastructure to enable the first 67 aircraft to be produced within 7.5 years. By then, the programme is forecast to reach its financial break-even, assuming an average "list price" of $15 million per aircraft.

Source: Flight International