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The Russian government, which at the end of 2017 allocated four billion rubles (US$51.7 million) to the State Transport Leasing Corporation (known by its Russian acronym GTLK) to make advance payments for the purchase of two Ilyushin IL-96-400M wide-bodies (built by United Aircraft Corp), has identified an alternative use for the money.
The sum will now be distributed between the purchase of Russian-made helicopters, and 19-seat twin-engine L-410 turboprops both produced by Ural Works of Civil Aviation (UWCA, part of Rostec).
“The decision to redirect the budget funds in the amount of four billion rubles to programmes with high social profile, such as the leasing of Russian-made helicopters … and supporting development of production of the L-410 in Yekaterinburg was made by the Russian government,” GTLK commented to Russian Aviation Insider.
Specifically, the lessor plans to order 15 Mil Mi-8s with a total value of 6.4 billion rubles, and four Ansat light, single-engined helicopters for 999 million. A further 1.7 billion rubles will be spent on purchasing four L-410 regional turboprops. The resultant total amount of 9.1 billion rubles will thus be raised from a combined contribution from the federal budget and from private funds.
The original plan was to use the four billion rubles for the launch order of two IL-96-400Ms, thus facilitating the serial production of these aircraft. Commenting on the future participation of GTLK in this wide-body programme, the leasing company said it is “ready to develop the Il-96-400M leasing programme,” but that further decisions regarding additional funding of GTLK “will be made by the government.”
The IL-96-400M project, although officially recognised as commercially unviable, was aimed at sustaining Russia’s wide-body design and production competences, a plan for which the government had agreed to allocate up to 14 billion rubles to support sales of these aircraft to potential operators.
The government admitted that the four-engined aircraft has high operating costs, and would require state support for promotion. GTLK was tasked with coming up with a financial model for the operation of the aircraft, with one of the possible mechanisms being an attractive lease rate option.
This summer, United Aircraft Corporation, the producer of the IL-96-400M, received state support for the upgrade and modernisation of the aircraft production facilities prior to launch of small serial production of the aircraft. Six of them are planned to enter service in 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024.