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    MOSCOW, January 5th, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent Natalia Gorbunova) - Russia's aircraft building sector has made immense progress, Russian Vice Premier Boris Alyoshin believes.

    As speaking at the Russian president's conference with the cabinet, Alyoshin recalled that a leasing contract between Aeroflot and Ilyushin Finance was signed to lease six Il-96s.

    "In all, Aeroflot will lease 14 aircraft within two years," the vice premier said. "The situation in the aircraft building sector is positive and has made a lot of progress." According to Alyoshin, Aeroflot is forwarding fundamentally new demands to aircraft, which are realised by the relevant industry.

    In his words, an agreement has been reached that Tu-214s and Il-96s would be used for international flights. This is very important for Russian transport potential, Alyoshin said. It is hard to sell aircraft abroad without their demonstration.

    "The main thing is that the financial mechanism [leasing] works well and proves efficient," Vladimir Putin said in turn.

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