The Russian lessor Ilyushin Finance Co. (IFC) and Red Wings, a Vnukovo-based airline, are planning an unusual collaboration scheme to promote Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ 100) airliners to foreign markets. Red Wings CEO Evgeny Klyucharev told Show Observer that airliners would be wet-leased to potential customers, complete with crew and maintenance support. The partners are currently in talks with three airlines, from Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand, which are expected to take up to two SSJ 100s each for a six-month period.
IFC CEO Alexander Rubtsov says the scheme will allow his company’s potential customers to try out the type in operation on their existing routes before deciding to buy: “If the carriers are left happy with the aircraft’s performance, they will be able to take them from IFC under operating lease arrangements after the wet-lease period expires.”
In parallel, IFC is looking to acquire 74% in Red Wings towards the carrier’s outstanding debt for the operation of the lessor’s two Tupolev Tu-204 narrowbodies. Red Wings would have to issue additional shares, after which its debt would be converted to stock. The possible transaction was discussed by the IFC board of directors in August, but several issues remain to be ironed out. If the deal takes place, IFC will have its own airline in addition to the subsidiary MRO provider IFC Technik.
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