Red Wings Airlines (WZ, Moscow Domodedovo) is planning to buy dormant Sky Gates Airlines (U3, Moscow Vnukovo) and equip it with two Il-96-400Ts not taken up by AirBridgeCargo (RU, Ulyanovsk Vostochny) due to a disagreement with manufacturer UAC United Aircraft Corporation, the Izvestia daily has reported.

The airline confirmed plans to acquire a "major cargo airline" in the coming weeks but did not officially name the intended target. Izvestia verified that it would be Sky Gates Airlines with two unnamed sources.

The two Il-96-400Ts were initially earmarked for AirBridgeCargo, but the airline and the manufacturer reportedly fell out on the terms of the delivery. AirBridgeCargo confirmed to ch-aviation that it was not in merger talks with Red Wings.

UAC said the first of the pair, an ex-Polet unit, was almost restored and will be delivered shortly, without disclosing the operator. The quadjet is currently parked in AirBridgeCargo's livery at Voronezh Pridacha airport.

Sky Gates Airlines has been dormant since the imposition of Western sanctions on Russia last year which forced the airline's minority shareholder at the time, Silk Way West Airlines (7L, Baku Heydar Aliev International), to assume both B747-400FSCDs that had been dry-leased to the Russian carrier. This left Sky Gates Airlines with a single inactive Il-76TD in its fleet.

The dormant cargo specialist is indirectly owned by Boris Alyoshin, a former deputy prime minister and now advisor to the UAC board. Silk Way Group no longer holds a stake in the airline. In turn, Red Wings is owned by Ilyushin Finance, and thus indirectly by UAC.

Red Wings Airlines plans to add Tu-204-100C and Tu-214 freighters to its cargo subsidiary in the future. Its current fleet comprises passenger aircraft exclusively, namely two A320-200s, six A321-200s, three B777-200ERS, twenty SSJ 100/95s, one Tu-204-100, and one Tu-204-300, the ch-aviation fleets module shows.