Aeroflot’s request to purchase up to 100 aircraft from manufacturer’s Airbus and Boeing has been approved by the Russian government.
The Russian flag carrier is interested in ordering 22 Airbus A350s and 74 medium haul aircraft with Boeing. The planes are scheduled to be delivered between 2019 to 2023.
“The approval means that national carrier Aeroflot is now officially allowed to acquire 22 long-haul wide-body Airbus A350s and 74 medium-haul Airbus and Boeing of unspecified types,” says Denis Manturov, Russia’s minister of industry and trade.
The Airbus A350-900 order was firmed back in 2007 and has only now been given a thumbs up by the government following a meeting with the commission. The first plane will be delivered in 2020, along with 7 others, before an additional 7 airframes are flown to Russia the following year.
“Our aviation industry does not yet produce this class of aircraft. In order to fulfil Aeroflot’s competitiveness, we have agreed the purchase of 22 [of these] aircraft,” continues Manturov.
The announcement by the government comes after the political situation between Russia and the west continues to remain tense. For this reason, airlines have been forced to go through the government when ordering any aircraft worth more than 1 billion roubles combined.
“As far as narrow-body aircraft are concerned, the national carrier is essentially the only major Russian airline that has not yet ordered Airbus A320neos or Boeing 737 MAXs. These types of aircraft are considered as direct competitors to Russia’s yet-to-be-serially-built advanced MC-21.”
“As for narrow-body aircraft, again we decided to support Aeroflot’s request, given the fact that there are firm contracts [collectively from several Russian customers] for 175 MC-21s. And, in addition, we are currently working with Aeroflot to purchase 35 more MC-21s,” the minister says.
Aeroflot is a very different airline compared to others around the world – the Russian government has placed a huge amount of pressure on the country’s airlines, to order domestically-made planes, creating new jobs and bringing in more income. The Russian aviation industry is particularly interesting – in the past, while many of the planes were advanced, some were known to be dangerous and were involved in a few major incidents. However, the government has not only made sure the planes are much safer than previously, but for airlines it has also relaxed its limitations and allowed them to purchase foreign planes.