Volga-Dnepr Group has signed a 15 year financial agreement with Ilyushin Finance Corporation (IFC) to take delivery of two new-build IL-96-400T aircraft. The first is due to be delivered in late 2006.

The contract was signed by Alexey Isaikin, President of the Volga-Dnepr Group, and Alexander Rubtsov, General Director of the IFC. The contract makes Volga-Dnepr Group the first customer of the new-build aircraft and represents another milestone in the fleet expansion strategy of the Group.

With a cargo capacity of 92 tons, the IL-96-400T aircraft will join the already impressive fleet of aircraft in the Volga-Dnepr Group of Airlines. These two aircraft are specifically purchased for use by AirBridge Cargo, Volga-Dnepr Group’s scheduled cargo airline to enhance their expanding network.

The new-build IL-96-400T aircraft adhere to all international and planned future noise, emission and avionic guidelines and is the freighter version of the long-haul IL-96-300 aircraft. The maximum cargo capacity is 92 tons for a 5000km distance. The aircraft main and lower decks will be equipped with automatic cargo loading systems and the aircraft will be powered by four PC-90A1 engines.

This contract for two aircraft marks the start of serial production of this aircraft, taking place at the Voronezh aircraft factory for other Russian foreign carriers, which may become customers of Ilyushin Finance Corporation signing firm orders for delivery of the aircraft in the near future.