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Polet airline commences revenue flights on Il-96-400T

Domodedovo housed a press briefing on 25 September, devoted to first revenue flight on the Ilyushin Il-96-400T widebody freighter. That day the aircraft registration number RA-96101 was ferried from Voronezh to Domodedovo for loading. On 27 September this aircraft performed its first flight with commercial cargo onboard, taking off from Domodedovo and landing in Yakutsk. This is first leg in the closed route that also involves landings in Shanghai, Novosibirsk and Munich. Such a route shall insure sufficient load factor on inbound and outbound flights.

Speaking at the briefing, Alexey Fedorov, President of the United Aircraft Corporation, said that the beginning of revenue flights on the new type is very important for the Russian aviation industry.In particular, he said: "Keeping our competences in widebody aircraft is very important for the United Aircraft Corporation. We are well aware of the difficulties that the baseline passenger version, the Il-96-300, experiences when competing with newer western designs. Therefore, we have developed the freighter version with a stretched fuselage and improved PS-90A1 turbofans. In its segment of the global market, this new version is very much competitive with best designs available elsewhere."

However, the process of market entry for the Il-96-400T was not smooth. The first airframe changed intended airline customers several times before it was finally accepted by Polet (Flight) Airline. Well-known difficulties that the global market for cargo transportation experienced recently were the primary cause for that.Mr. Fedorov further said: "We are happy with the fact that, finally, the airplane went into service and started revenue operations. This makes UAC able to demonstrate performance of the type on a real network of air routes, and help us draw attention of potential customers. I believe that first months of revenue flights will prove profitable for Polet. And that will be the most effective, most convincing advertising for the new aircraft"."We have preserved manufacturing capacities for production of commercial widebody aircraft in the view of would-be orders from domestic and international airlines. We hope that Polet would turn the option for three more Il-96-400T aircraft into a firm order. We further hope that successful beginning of revenue flights will ensure good future for the Il-96-400T".

Polet has so far accepted two airframes and in the process of accepting the third. All the three are named after distinguished persons. The RA-96101 carries the name of Vyacheslav Salikov. The RA-96102 is named after Valery Menitsky and RA-96103 after Stanislav Bliznyuk. Interest in the Il-96 family aircraft in VIP, passenger and freighter versions is being expressed by a number of airlines from Russia, Asia-Pacific and Latin America.

Press release issued by Ilyushin Aviation Complex on September 30, 2009


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United Aircraft Corporation (OAK)
Ilyushin Aviation Complex Airframer


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Ilyushin IL-96

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