The Russian airline "IrAero" will receive the three Boeing 777-200 aircraft that were previously flying for "VIM Avia”. The first two aircraft should arrive in Irkutsk in April, the third in May. The aircraft are being acquired under a five years operational lease.
"IrAero" will use the aircraft to transport Chinese tourists. On February 26, Rosaviatsia issued the approvals according to which the Irkutsk air carrier is allowed to perform regular flights on 19 routes to China, 14 of them from Moscow and 5 of them from St. Petersburg.
Presumably, Moscow's Vnukovo airport will be the base for IrAero’s three 777s. Aircraft maintenance will be provided by the Russian company UTG Maintenance & Engineering (maintenance center of CJSC UTG), who recently opened new facilities in Pulkovo. The aircraft will be re-painted in the traditional livery "IrAero": almost entirely white fuselage with the airline’s logo on the tail.
VIM Avia was actively planning to exploit the Chinese market. Now that it has ceased operations, there is a need for additional capacity in this developing market.
The decision of IrAero to operate long-haul aircraft seems inconsistent. The carrier does not seem to have any deep and well-developed business development strategy (probably, that's why the operator quickly agreed to work on the Chinese project). The airline is trying to squeeze the maximum of its SSJ 100, but its main revenue comes from the use of the An-24/26 and the Bombardier CRJ100 / 200.