Cuba about to order 10 more jets
CUBA STANDARD — Possibly using its leverage with close allies in Latin
America, Cuba may expand a previous order of three An-158 jets with
Antonov Design Bureau and is now negotiating delivery of 10, Russia’s
Komersant daily reported.
Quoting Antonov’s Deputy General Designer, Alexander Keeva, the
newspaper said the Cuban government has reached an agreement in
principle with the Ukrainian aircraft maker and Russia’s Ilyushin
Finance Co., and that the three sides are “getting close” to signing a
Flag carrier Cubana de Aviación this year began operating three new
An-158 jets ordered in 2011, on routes from Havana to Santiago,
Guantánamo, Holguín, Nassau, Santo Domingo, Cancún and Caracas.
During delivery of the third jet at an airshow in Moscow in August, Cuba
reportedly signed an order for the leasing of three more of the
Ukrainian-made mid-range aircraft. The three additional An-158 were
scheduled for delivery in 2014. Russia’s Ilyushin Finance Co. will
finance the three aircraft under an agreement with Roseximbank.
Now, Cuba is apparently negotiating delivery of seven more An-158 jets.
Cubana, Antonov and Ilyushin Finance just completed high-altitude tests
with a Cubana An-158 jet in Ecuador and Bolivia. The two Andean
countries, both close allies of Cuba, apparently have expressed interest
in purchasing the jets as well.
“During this expedition, following demands of potential customers from
the region, Antonov … and its partner Ilyushin Finance … conduct the
airplane tests under conditions of alpine airfields,” Antonov said in a
press release Nov. 15. “This expedition is an important constituent to
promote the aircraft of the AN?148/AN?158 family into the market of
The An-158 is a midrange, 100-seater derivative of the Antonov-148. The
jet is manufactured under Russian-Ukrainian cooperation with final
assembly in Kiev, Ukraine. Sixty-five percent of its components are
Russian-made; the jet also uses French, German and U.S. parts, but U.S.
components represent under 10 percent, thus avoiding conflict with U.S.
sanctions against Cuba.
Cuban flag carrier Cubana de Aviación is the only airline in the western
hemisphere that flies the An-158.
Since 2004, Ilyushin Finance has delivered three long-haul Il-96 and
four medium-range Tu-204 to Cuba under a Russian state guarantee program
that supports high-tech exports. The guarantees were provided through
state bank Vneshekonombank (VEB), a subsidiary of Roseximbank.
Even though the Russian government has been guaranteeing and guiding
Cuba’s aircraft purchases, the going has not always been easy. In 2009,
Flight International magazine reported that Cuba rejected delivery of
one of three Tu-204 ordered in 2007. Cubana de Aviación did not take the
Tu-204-100CE cargo aircraft after Vneshtorgbank attempted to charge a
higher interest rate than the agreed 8 percent.
Cuba went through a pronounced cash crunch in 2008-10, during which it
froze hard-currency accounts and rescheduled debt agreements.
In February this year, Russia agreed to convert the previous purchase of
five jets into a leasing deal. Russia is now leasing three previously
delivered Ilyushin-96-400 long-haul jets and two Tu-204SM mid-range
aircraft to Cuba through South American Aircraft Leasing Co., a
Cyprus-based company with Russian owners. All three An-158 jets are
leased from SAAL as well.
Source: “Cuba about to order 10 more jets « Cuba Standard, your best
source for Cuban business news” –