So, will the Aeroflot be forced to fly by Russian planes?
Great plans to renew the air fleet of the Russian aviation monopolist Aeroflot seem not to be realized. The reason, as usual, is trivial: there is no money. The contract about the 18 Airbus planes on $ 900 million the Aeroflot wanted to buy is questionable. Even though, the patron of the bargain is the prime minister himself – Mikhail Kasyanov.
November 18, the Aeroflot director general, Valery Okulov signed an agreement with the Airbus concern about leasing of 18 A-320 planes. The Aeroflot accounted on the first liner to be supplied to Russia already next autumn. Though, before the agreement comes into effect, it should be approved by the company leadership, or by the stockholders assembly. And, neither the first, nor the second hasten to approve it.
The Aeroflot directors intended to discuss this question the day before yesterday, at their regular sitting. Though, there was no sitting. Top managers of the Aeroflot have not found money yet, to buy the damned planes. First, it was supposed, the US leasing company GECAS would provide the Russian air carriers with money. Though, the Americans agreed to hand over to the Aeroflot only 6 A-320 planes from their bookings. Four more liners would be specially ordered by GECAS from Airbus for the Russian air carriers. Again, at its own expense. As for the other planes, the Aeroflot should itself settle the situation.
Though, the Aeroflot cannot buy 8 A-320 planes on its own, 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 the Vedomosti newspaper, said 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 the Aeroflot direction are embarrassed with some opaque “defects” in this bargain financing scheme. Nevertheless, they expect, the bargain will be finally ratified. To be sure! The agreement with the supplier was signed with personal participation of prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov. And no one functionary will risk to expose so the prime minister. So, the Aeroflot direction sitting was, just in case, put off. By that time, either the donkey, or the padishah will die.
Translated by Vera Solovieva