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    Russian leasing firm inks $1 bln deal with 4 airlines

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    LE BOURGET (FRANCE), June 20 (RIA Novosti) - A spokesperson for Russian leasing company Ilyushin Finance said Wednesday the company had signed contracts with four Russian airlines worth just under $1 billion at catalogue prices.

    Speaking at the Le Bourget air show the spokesperson said the company had clinched a 15-year deal with Aeroflot Cargo, a subsidiary of the largest national carrier, to lease six Il-96-400T cargo planes worth some $70 million each between 2008 and 2010.

    The Il-96-400T is a cargo version of the Il-96-400 passenger jet. The plane's maximum commercial load capacity is 92 metric tons, its flight range with a maximum payload is 5,700 kilometers (3,500 miles), and its maximum takeoff weight is 265 metric tons.

    Aeroflot Cargo is planning to use the aircraft on routes from Europe to Central Asia and the Middle and Far East, Aeroflot Cargo spokeswoman Natalya Rusakova said.

    Under a $225 million agreement with Atlant-Soyuz, an airline of the Moscow government, another three Il-96-400T cargo jets will be supplied in 2009.

    A deal with the Volga-Dnepr air carrier will bring Ilyushin Finance an extra $80 million for two Tu-204 airliners, to be delivered in 2008-2009.

    Volga-Dnepr, which specializes in oversize cargo operations, is buying the aircraft for its subsidiary AirBridgeGargo.

    Polet Airlines, based in the central Russian aircraft-building city of Voronezh, where the contracts have been signed, will receive 10 An-148-100E regional aircraft between 2009 and 2013 at a value of $225 million.

    Experts said the contracts could total some $860 million at discount prices.

    Ilyushin Finance has a 38% stake in Russia's United Aircraft Building Corporation (UABC).

    UABC, which is 90% state owned, consolidates aircraft building companies and state assets, and engages in the manufacture, design and sale of military, civil, transport, and unmanned aircraft in a bid to streamline the Russian aviation industry.

    It incorporates commercial and military aircraft makers, such as Sukhoi, Ilyushin, and Tupolev, as well as companies involved in distribution, including Aviaexport.

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