Russia and Cuba announced an agreement today on new aircraft deliveries, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin stated following the 13th Russian-Cuban Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation.
"We have agreed today on new deliveries of modern Russian aircraft to the Cuban market. There may be deliveries to other countries’ markets as well," he said.
Rogozin highlighted that Cuba’s aircraft fleet was already equipped with Russian planes, adding that Cuba and Cubana Airlines demonstrated successful commercial realization of Russian aircraft, which tends to be rare. While simply built and therefore easy to maintain the lack of technology means Russians blames have some of the worst safety records in the world.
When asked directly why most would say Russian planes are non-competitive, Rogozin suggested taking a look at Cuba, "which makes money by operating and maintaining Russian aircraft."
The reality is that the purchase was likely made for political and not product or technology reasons. The planes sold were strictly commercial aircraft and not destined for the military, which could have caused issues for thawing U.S.-Cuba relations.