Boeing Gets Large Plane Order From Russia

June 1, 2010

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Boeing has won an order from a Russian state company for up to 65 planes, nearly half its net order for 2009, beating European rival Airbus and a Russian manufacturer.

Buyer Russian Technologies, which operates carrier Rosavia and has a deal with Aeroflot to buy aircraft on behalf of the flag carrier and lease them.

"In the near future, Russian Technologies in cooperation with Aeroflot will issue specific orders for specific models," Russian Technologies said.

Earlier, Russian Technologies said the tender, contested by Boeing, Russia's United Aircraft Corporation (OAK) and Airbus, was for 50 midrange narrow-body planes with an option for 15 more.

However, Aeroflot said it would continue buying from Airbus. It has chosen Airbus planes over Boeing in recent years, and analysts have said the carrier would have to make significant investment to accommodate new Boeing aircraft.

A spokesman for Aeroflot said it was looking at leasing another 15 Airbus A320s in addition to the three due for delivery this year and 13 between 2011 and 2013.

By the end of the year Aeroflot expects to operate 67 Airbus airliners.

Aeroflot said it could, however, consider the commercial merits of a Boeing deal.

"If Russian Technologies' offer (of Boeing aircraft) is in line with the market or below, we will consider it," the Aeroflot spokesman said.

The two carriers were slated to merge their fleets, creating a single national airline. Aeroflot is effectively managing some of Rosavia's holdings while they are prepared for formal takeover by Aeroflot.

Rosavia was created when Russian Technologies swept up the debris after the mass failure of a few remaining regional carriers, once known as "babyflots", which were created when the Soviet-era Aeroflot's monopoly was ended in the 1990s.

The head of Russian Technologies, Sergei Chemezov, has promised further orders to the United Aircraft Corporation.

The companies are under political pressure to buy new aircraft from the domestic industry, which is struggling to make good on a revival plan after a decade and a half of decay.

A new Russian model designed to spearhead that effort, the Superjet, has been repeatedly delayed.

"In addition, Russian Technologies will purchase domestically produced planes including the MS-21, AN-148 and Sukhoi Superjet from the United Aircraft Corporation," it said.

(Reuters)