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Wednesday, 26 September, 2001, 09:46 GMT 10:46 UK
Firm to refit Putin's plane
Ilyushin
Aeroflot has six Ilyushin 96 in its fleet
A Bristol firm has won a 10m contract to refurbish the Russian presidential plane.

Diamonite will redesign and refit the interior of President Putin's Ilyushin 96 (IL-96), the equivalent of America's Air Force One.

The Russian commission is the engineering firm's biggest contract to date.

Diamonite currently employs 60 but expects the workforce to double in the coming months as work on the president's aircraft gets underway.

plane interior
Diamonite furnishes planes to VIP standards

The company has long-standing links with the former Soviet Union and has already refurbished more than 40 Russian planes.

But managing director Dave Cox said he was still surprised and delighted to win such an important contract.

Work on the IL-96 will begin shortly and should take a year to complete.

Based in Fishponds, Diamonite is an established provider of aircraft interiors.

It manufactures some of the fittings in the Airbus interior, including wardrobes and the dividers between first, business and economy class.

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