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Aerosvit signs leasing deal for Boeing airliners

Ukrainian carrier Aerosvit Thursday signed an agreement with US aerospace giant Boeing for the lease of 14 mid- range airliners, the Interfax news agency reported.

The newly-built 737-800 aircraft will be delivered in 2011 - 2012. The price to Aerosvit of the lease was not made public. With a book value of the 14 airplanes totaling over $1 billion, the deal is in any case the largest single acquisition of foreign aircraft by a Ukrainian company to date. It is also Boeing’s biggest-ever aircraft sale in the former Soviet Union, said Mykola Rudolkovsky, Ukraine Transport Minister.

Aerosvit is Ukraine’s largest commercial carrier, operating some 24 aircraft on domestic routes to most major Ukrainian cities, and international routes mainly to Europe and the Middle East. The company as part of an ongoing expansion program signed an earlier deal to lease eleven more Boeing airliners from 2008 - 2011.

Boeing will provide service, training, and maintenance personnel as part of the terms of the new lease agreement, and also extend the same support to aircraft to be delivered under the earlier contract. Critically for the sometimes undercapitalized Aerosvit, Boeing also will assist in providing financing for the Thursday agreement for the fourteen aircraft deal, according to the report. Boeing most likely would work with US banks to provide Aerosvit funds at low interest rates to cover the cost of the lease, said Craig Jones, a Boeing spokesman. Ukraine’s air transportation market currently is booming, with gross turnover increasing at a 30% annual rate.

Aerosvit is a mostly privately-owned company, but Ukraine’s government retains a 22% stake in the firm. (