It’s been hard for EADS to do anything right recently, but today they finally signed off on a deal with Russia that is truly historic. Politics has been hugely important in all of this of course - but the fact remains that EADS is now well and truly established in Russian aerospace in a way that must be pretty sickening to Boeing.
The headline deal was that Aeroflot finally committed (well, MoU anyway) to taking 22 A350 XWBs and ten A330s. Boeing at one point, remember, had this close to sewn-up.
But that’s only part of it: the fledgling United Aircraft Corporation will be a risk-sharer on the A350; UAC and EADS will perform A320 freight conversions in a joint venture; and UAC will acquire the 50% share in Airbus’ Moscow engineering centre (ECAR) now owned by Kaskol. The two companies are also going to study the transport aircraft market and maybe do something in that area one day.
In short, after a pretty epic struggle, EADS is Moscow’s partner of choice.
The Russian market is potentially so big that I don’t expect Boeing and the USA to take this lying down. But with the RRJ/Superjet activity in Alenia’s hands, they don’t have much to offer just now.