Aeroflot Russian Airlines is reviewing its future long-haul fleet renewal after it was revealed just last month that the carrier had cancelled its order for 22 Boeing 787 Dreamliners. The flag carrier had been due to take delivery of the aircraft in 2014 but previous delays with the programme meant that the deliveries had been put back to 2016.
Although the airline’s deputy general director for strategy and alliances, Giorgio Callegari, revealed at the Paris Air Show that this agreement was formalised a long time ago, the commitment had remained in the manufacturer’s Order & Delivery backlog.
Speaking at the Routes Silk Road Strategy Summit in Tbilisi, Georgia, Evgeny F. van der Geest, senior analyst risk advisory at Ascend Flightglobal Consultancy, said the airline’s contract terms allowed for a revaluation of the purchase agreement and after delays, combined with changed business priorities and current market conditions, meant the aircraft are no longer a good fit for the carrier.
“Aeroflot cancelled the 787 deal on the last day they could do it without paying any financial penalty,” explained van der Geest. “They are now also reviewing their plans to take 22 Airbus A350s.”
The Russian flag carrier has eight A350-800s and 14 A350-900s on order and remains one of only a handful of carriers still with commitments for the smallest variant of the new generation airliner. A Russian Industry analyst told Routesonline during the network development forum that it is unlikely they will also cancel the Airbus deal.
“Like most other original A350-800 customers, Aeroflot is playing the game with Airbus on its commitment. It will likely switch the order to the A350-1000 as others have, but it is unclear if that will be a long-term solution to its revised capacity needs or simply deferring the need to make a decision until a later date, when the Russian economy should have recovered,” they said.