MOSCOW, August 23 - RAPSI, Sergei Feklyunin. The Voronezh Regional Commercial Court has declared a recess until August 30 in its hearing of the Defense Ministrys claim for 7.19 billion rubles ($257 million) from Polyot, an air carrier, the courts press secretary told the Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI).

The court decided to postpone hearings in order to allow time for the Defense Ministry to further specify its claims, the press secretary said.

The Ministry is seeking repayment of the air carriers debt, which the carrier accumulated through nonpayment in its lease of an An -124 airplane that it began renting from the Ministry in 2000. The Ministrys requested amount also includes penalties for the aircrafts late acceptance and return.

The court decided earlier to consolidate two of the Ministrys suits against the carrier - one for 490 million rubles and the other for over 6 billion rubles.

RAPSI has yet to obtain the parties comments on the dispute.

Polyot, a Vioronezh company, transports super-heavy and bulk cargo. It has made regular passenger flights since 2003. Its fleet includes Аn-124-100 Ruslan and Il-96-400Т cargo aircraft, as well as Saab 2000 passenger planes.

RAPSI News Service