Russian long-haul carrier Volga-Dnepr signs deal with Boeing to buy 5 new 747 jets

Russian long-haul air shipper Volga-Dnepr has signed a deal with Boeing Corp. to buy five new long-range 747-8F jets, with an option for five more in future years, the company said Monday. Russian media said the deal was worth US$1 billion (EUR760 million).

The deal is a bright spot for Boeing in Russia, where the U.S. jet manufacturer's efforts to increase sales have been stymied by politics.

The purchase of the 747s "facilitates the successful achievement of the company's strategic corporate goal to become the fastest-growing company rated among top twenty leaders of the global air cargo market," Volga-Dnepr President Alexei Isaikin said in a statement.

The first plane is scheduled to be delivered in early 2010 with the other four to be delivered over the following three years, the company said. No price for the deal was given, but RIA-Novosti said it was worth up to US$1 billion (EUR760 million.

Volga-Dnepr is a major international air shipper that relies heavily on the massive Russian-built Antonov-124 jets, known as Ruslans, as well as other Russian cargo jets and some Boeings.

Boeing has been angling to strike a multibillion deal with Russian state-controlled flagship carrier Aeroflot in recent months, but talks have been put on hold and tense relations between Russia and the United States are suspected as the cause.

Aeroflot management last year asked the government the company's controlling shareholder to approve a deal to upgrade its long-range fleet by buying 22 Boeing 787s and an equal number of Airbus A350s. CEO Valery Okulov said later that no permission for the purchase had been received and a deadline for the deal had been missed, reports AP.

Aviation analysts have valued the Aeroflot Boeing order at US$2.5 billion (EUR1.9 billion).

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