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Aeroflot to Buy 11 Airbus Jets

Model Danielle Lineker standing in front of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner at the Farnborough International Airshow. Kieran Doherty

Aeroflot reached a deal with European plane maker Airbus on Monday to purchase 11 A330-300 airplanes at the Farnborough International Airshow that opened in a small English town. ? 

The catalog price for an A330-300, a medium-range commercial jet, is $200 million, valuing such a deal at as much as $2.2 billion. The aircraft will be delivered to the Russian airliner in 2011 to 2013.

The purchase comes after Aeroflot was dressed down by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin last week for a separate order of 22 Airbus A350s starting in 2016. Putin scolded the state-owned company for purchasing the long-range aircraft and overlooking the Irkut MS-21.

“You want to dominate the domestic market, but you don’t want to buy Russian technology. That won’t do,” Putin told Aeroflot CEO Vitaly Savelyev, who was quick to promise adjustments to the ambitious plans to renew Aeroflot's fleet.

But for the time being, all Aeroflot can do is look abroad if it wants to replace its old Boeing aircraft in favor of something newer.

"Russian producers cannot offer medium-range planes with fuel efficiency that could match foreign ones," said Andrei Rozhkov, infrastructure and transportation analyst at Metropol.

Others in the Russian aviation industry were out in force at the Farnborough airshow as well.

U.S. aerospace firm Boeing signed a pair of deals with Russian Technologies to create joint ventures. The two companies will create a venture to service and distribute Boeing aircraft as well as an innovation center that will create titanium alloys.

Boeing is the biggest client of titanium producer VSMPO-Avisma, owned by Russian Technologies.

Jim Albaugh, CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said the U.S. company planned to sign a contract with Russian Technologies and VEB-Leasing in September for 50 aircraft.

The deal, originally announced in June during President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to the United States, would see the aircraft sold to Aeroflot, since the state corporation has the right to purchase aircraft for the airliner.

Meanwhile, Sukhoi landed a deal with Indonesia's Karnataka Airlines to sell 30 of its long-awaited Superjets between 2012 and 2015 — a deal worth $951 million.

The Superjet, a midrange passenger jet Russia hopes will revive its civil aviation industry, was originally slated to begin delivery by 2008, but delays have pushed the deadline back to later this year.

Also at Farnborough, Irkut agreed to sell 15 of its midrange MS-21 aircraft to VEB-Leasing, which retains an option to buy 15 more.

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