HAVANA, 1 Mar. Interjet (4O, Toluca) has approved the firming up of options for an additional ten SSJ 100-95s Russia’s RU Aviation News reports.
The move follows talks between the airline’s board and Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (Moscow Zhukovsky) executives late last year and, according to Interjet CEO Jose Luis Garza, will culminate in an agreement being signed in Venice, Italy later this year.
The Mexican LCC operates eleven of the type on flights throughout Mexico as well as to Houston Intc’l and San Antonio Int’l in the United States. Meanwhile, Garza says his airline would consider developing Havana Int’l into a regional hub but only once US sanctions against the communist island are lifted.
“It’s only a dream now, first of all, the problem with lifting the economic embargo in Cuba must be solved,” Jose Luis Garza told RIA Novosti. “But the creation of a transcontinental hub there [in Cuba] is a very interesting idea.”
After more than fifty years, the Obama administration has signalled its intent to resume direct bilateral ties with Cuba, broken off two years after Fidel Castro overthrew Fulgencio Batista’s regime in 1959.
With the prospect of a Cuban economic boom on the horizon, longterm ally Russia says it has already held talks with Abu Dhabi’s strategic investment firm, Mubadala, regarding the construction of an new intercontinental hub airport on the island. Should the project go ahead, Russia would contribute USD200 million.
“We are deeply involved in these negotiations,” Russian trade and industry minister Denis Manturov told the UAE’s National newspaper. “Cuba is developing a transport hub from the seaport and a railway to the airport.
They have only one international airport and they are planning to use one of the ex-military bases to build a big airport hub for Latin America.” The paper claims Russia’s involvement in the project is part of a move by president Vladimir Putin to effectively write off about USD32 billion of Soviet-era debt Cuba still owes. Under Moscow’s new terms, Cuba must now repay Russia USD3 billion over a ten-year period.