Russia's Aeroflot to Choose Airbus Planes over Boeing: Report

"This is a clear signal to the United States not to put too much pressure on Russia in WTO talks otherwise many lucrative contracts and privileges could go to the Europeans," Yaroslav Lissovolik, an analyst from the Deutsche UFG investment house, told Vedmosti.

A meeting of Aeroflot's board of directors last month "decided that Aeroflot should buy the Airbus-350 liners", an official in Russia's presidential administration who is familiar with the deal told Vedomosti on condition of anonymity.

The paper quoted an anonymous government official as saying the move was an "asymmetrical response" to opposition in Washington to Russia's bid to join the WTO.

Vedomosti estimated the cost of the deal at three billion dollars (2.36 billion euros).

But Irina Dannenberg, a spokeswoman for Aeroflot, said it was too early to talk about the results of the tender since no contract had been signed.

"The results of the tender will be announced when we sign the contract. We haven't done that yet," Dannenberg said.

"For some time, Boeing was preferred. Now we are looking at offers from Airbus. We haven't chosen the planes yet," she added.

Vedmosti said Aeroflot had delayed announcing its decision after an Airbus A320 passenger jet belonging to Armenia's Armavia airline plunged into the Black Sea on Wednesday, killing all 113 people on board.

In December 2005, the paper said Aeroflot was considering buying 22 Boeing 787s, known as "Dreamliners".

Moscow has already signed a bilateral agreement with the European Union to pave the way for it to join the WTO but it has yet to clinch such an agreement with the United States.

Washington has expressed concern over software, music and video piracy in Russia, as well as agricultural subsidies, import tariffs and rules on the establishment of foreign banks.

  Source: AFP

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