Air Transportation: Leased Russians Threaten C-17s


June 28, 2006: A Canadian aircraft leasing company has come up with an offer the Canadian Air Force is having a hard time refusing. Canada is in the market for new air transports, and seems set on buying four American C-17 aircraft for a stated price of about $3.2 billion. This amount covers many life cycle costs. In more practical terms, the C-17s would cost about $100 million a year to pay for and operate. Skylink, the aircraft leasing company, is offering a much more attractive deal. They would provide two Russian Il-76 and two Ukrainian An-124s for $42 million a year. That includes 400 flying hours per aircraft per year. The Skylink aircraft, especially the An-124, have built up a good reputation over the last decade. The leasing offer is a bold solution to the problem the Canadian defense forces face. With many overseas commitments, and not enough money, the leasing deal is very tempting. The Canadian military has used Skylink before, for moving troops and equipment overseas, so the firm is not a complete unknown. A final decision will be made before the end of Summer. The C-17 deal is expected to go through because it's politically more popular and acceptable.


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