EADS, the European consortium that is 80 percent owned by Airbus, and the Russian Irkut and MiG corporations have signed a preliminary agreement covering the conversion of A320 passenger jets into freighters.
Irkut will produce all the necessary components, which is about 40 percent of the work, The actual conversion work will be done at the main MiG plant in Lukovitsy.
The conversion can take place along with the scheduled maintenance checks that is carried out after about 15 years of aircraft use.
The cost of a check is about $1 million per plane. If customs duties on aircraft parts are not reduced, EADS will be forced to perform checks and conversions of A320 planes in a country with more favourable customs rules.