Press TV - Russia has postponed for one year the delivery of five Tupolev TU-204SM jetliners to Iran, despite initial agreements between the two countries.
Russia's Ilyushin Finance Company (IFC) was expected to deliver five Tupolev Tu-204SM passenger aircrafts to Iran, but the two sides agreed on the sidelines of the MAKS 2009 Air Show to delay for one year the final agreement.
The Tupolev Tu-204 is a family of modern twin-engine medium range airliners capable of carrying cargo or up to 212 passengers. First introduced in 1989, it is considered broadly equivalent to the Airbus A320/321 series.
The 'SM' version on order for Iran Air Tours is the latest model, incorporating various improvements, mainly to reduce its empty weight by 4-5 tons.
Conceived by the famed Tupolev Design Bureau, Iran's aircraft will be manufactured by Russia's United Aircraft Corporation (UAC).
The UAC says that the development of design documentation for the 'SM' variant should be completed by the end of this year, with certification flights scheduled for 2010, reported Flight International. The planes are expected to be delivered to Iran in 2011.
According to the UAC, Iran Air Tours will be the "ultimate beneficiary" of the aircraft.
Iran plans to acquire up to 100 Russian-made Tupolev-204 and Tupolev-214 planes over the next 10 years to renovate its ageing aviation fleet.
An IFC official, Nikolaevich Minushkin told Fars News Agency that the main reason for the delay was to apply the modifications asked by Iran in the plan's vehicle to adapt it for Iranian climate conditions.
"The changes would lower the airplane's weight and fuel consumption." Minushkin said.
Sergei Galperin, UAC's Director of the Civil Aviation Production Programs, said in early August that signing the contract with Iran was an important step in marketing the plane in other countries.
In the face of US- and EU-imposed sanctions, Iran has moved closer to Russia and China in conducting business.
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