Iran buys five Russian Tu-204 planes

Islamic republic purchases five Russian airplanes.

Leasing company “Ilyushin Finance Co” (IFC) contracted a preliminary agreement Saturday about selling five passenger jets Tu-204 to Iran.

Compared with the other export transactions of domestic airplanes, which IFC organized in 2005 and 2006, the Iranian contract currently in preparation does not require the Russian side to submit any governmental financial guarantees.

Vremia Novostey reported yesterday that IFC’s general director Aleksandr Rubtsov told the media that the contract would be signed before December 15, 2006, and that the planes would be transported in the second half of 2008.

Because of the restrictions on the American aerotechnics supply Iran remains one of the few foreign countries that widely use Soviet- and Russian-made previous generation’s civilian airplanes (mainly Tu-154).

Starting last year Iranians have been talking about purchasing some of the more recent Russian machines for their average-length flights: Tu-204-100. At first they were dealing with Aviaeksport but at this point the leasing company IFC has become the most likely intermediary.

According to Rubtsov, an agreement was signed three days ago stating the conditions for supplying five airplanes Tu-204-100 for the Iran Air Tour airline – a subdivision of Iran Air, the largest air company in the entire Islamic republic.

The price was estimated by Rubtsov to be $180 million. If both sides confirm all the financial parameters by December 15 as previously planned, then the machines would begin their transportation at one per month starting in July 2008.

It is worthy of noting that the agreement did not mention any Russian state export guaranties. Before IFC the first Russian exporter of aerotechnics was able to provide such guarantees for its clients. It was precisely that move that allowed the company to renew the export business after a long interruption caused by the USSR break-up.

In 2005 and 2006 IFC closed two contracts on such conditions with a Cuban federal airline Cubana de Aviacion for four airplanes Il-96-300 and three airplanes Tu-204. Preliminary agreements prepared by IFC with the Syrian air companies (three Il-96-400 and four Tu-204) and Zimbabwe (five Il-96-400) also assume that the 85% of the transfer costs would be guaranteed by the Russian budget.

According to non-official reports one of these contracts – the Zimbabwean – might be signed within the next month.

Vremya Novostei

Translated by Natalia Vysotskaya

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Author`s name Oksana Anikina