Aeroflot Cargo ditches new plane order

Russian carrier, Aeroflot Cargo, has put on hold plans to expand its fleet by the end of 2008 with the addition of three new 92-tonne capacity Ilyushin IL96-400T freighters.

The saga leaves the new-build Il-96 freighter with no customers, after Atlant-Soyuz pulled out of its acquisition deal earlier this year. The politics behind the decision of both airlines to dump the aircraft are complex as the ownership and shape of Russian aviation is rapidly changing. However, the lifting of the ban preventing Aeroflot operating foreign-built MD-11 freighters is key to Aeroflot’s decision.
Aeroflot plans to retire its final DC-10 freighter by mid-December, leaving it operating a fleet of three MD-11Fs. The airline has stated its plans to acquire three more MD-11Fs in 2009.

Alexsey Sumchenko, the carrier’s deputy general manager – commercial director, said that after studiesying the Il-96-400T they concluded that “we found it would not be easy to get positive financial results from operating that aircraft. We are still in discussions about all issues of that contract but no one knows when a final decision will be taken”.

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