Is The New 'Cold War' Thawing A Bit?
Frankly, we still can't believe it. On Saturday, Russia's
Aeroflot confirmed rumors that, following an extremely protracted
decision-making process, the flag carrier for the former Soviet
Union has ordered 22 Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
For real this time. With signatures and everything.
As ANN reported last week --
when news first surfaced Aeroflot would order the 787s after all --
a previous order was abandoned earlier this year, at least partly
due to the increasingly chilly political relationship between the
US and Russia. Aeroflot later signed a memorandum of understanding
with Airbus for 22 A350 XWBs, the Dreamliner's main competitor.
Analysts were quick to point out Saturday's signing of the
22-plane order by Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Scott Carson and
Aeroflot chief Valery Okulov could mark the start of easing
tensions between the US and Russia. That relationship may also have
relaxed ever-so-slightly this week, with a tentative agreement
between the US and Russia to consider the latter's offer of use of
a radar station in Azerbaijan for a proposed US missile shield over
Carson was coy when asked of the order's potential significance
on the global stage. "It represents a business relationship between
us and Aeroflot, and we're very proud of that relationship," Carson
told reporters, according to The Associted Press.
In a separate statement to ANN, the American planemaker added it
was "very pleased that Aeroflot has selected the 787 Dreamliner for
its fleet requirements."
The order was signed on the first day of an economic forum in
In related news, Boeing also announced Saturday an agreement to
expand the planemaker's role in development of Russia's Sukhoi
Superjet 100 regional jet program. The expanded role -- under which
Boeing agrees to provide pilot and maintenance training on the
upcoming RJ, and spare parts management -- was rumored to be
connected of the Dreamliner order.
"This is an excellent example of Boeing's long-term commitment
to cooperation with Russian industry," said Scott Carson, president
and chief executive officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "Our
work with Sukhoi on the Superjet 100 is a great opportunity to
expand our 'working together' relationship."
And, quite possibly, a great opportunity to sell a few more
Boeing airplanes in Russia, as well.