Either the Donkey or the Padishah will Die

So, will the Aeroflot be forced to fly buy Russian planes?

Great plans to renew the air fleet of Russian aviation monopolist Aeroflot seem not to be coming true. The reason, as usual, is trivial: there is no money. The contract for 18 Airbus planes for $900 million is questionable, even the patron of the bargain is the prime minister himself: Mikhail Kasyanov.

On November 18, the Aeroflot director general, Valery Okulov signed an agreement with Airbus to lease 18 A-320 planes. Aeroflot accounted on the first plane to be supplied to Russia already by next autumn. However, before the agreement comes into effect, it must be approved of by the company’s leadership or by its stockholders. However, neither the first, nor the second hasten to approve the deal.

Aeroflot’s directors intended to discuss this question the day before yesterday, at their regular meeting. However, no such meeting took place. Top managers of Aeroflot have not found the money to buy the damn planes. First, it was supposed that the US leasing company GECAS would provide the Russian air carrier with money. Though, the Americans agreed to hand over to Aeroflot only six A-320 planes. Four more liners would have to be specially ordered by GECAS from Airbus for the Russian air carriers. Again, at its own expense. As for the other planes, Aeroflot should itself settle the situation.

Aeroflot cannot buy eight A-320 planes on its own, as each costs about 50 million dollars. This is why Sergei Koltovich, director of Development and Planning Service of the Aeroflot air fleet, while being interviewed by Vedomosti newspaper, said that the company was considering two variants: either to accept an offer of another leasing company, or to attract long-term financing guaranteed by a European export and import agency (ECDG from Britain, Hermes from Germany, and Coface from France). There is no other way: the agreement should be implemented.

At the same time, the state representatives to Aeroflot are embarrassed with some opaque “defects” in this bargain financing scheme. Nevertheless, they expect that the bargain will be finally ratified. To be sure! The agreement with the supplier was signed with the personal participation of prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov. Not one functionary will risk crossing the prime minister. Therefore, the Aeroflot meeting was put off, just in case. By the time this deal is approved of, either the donkey or the padishah will die.

Kira Poznakhirko PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Vera Solovieva

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