Aeroflot appears to have shelved plans for subsidiary carrier Rossiya to double its Antonov An-148 fleet, following a hike in the twinjet type's catalogue price.
Following the delivery of six domestically built An-148s, Rossiya had been in talks to specify technical terms, with the aim of firming up an order for a further six.
The final decision depended on endorsement from the enlarged Aeroflot Group, into which Rossiya was integrated in 2010. But Aeroflot director general Valery Saveliev indicates that the management cannot avoid taking steep pricing into account.
"From the operating standpoint, they have proven to be sound aircraft," he says. "The price Rossiya originally paid was perfectly adequate in terms of value for money. We would have considered acquiring a further six An-148s, had their price not risen sharply. Therefore, we've put a stop to that plan."
Rossiya director Sergey Belov says airframer VASO has retroactively raised prices for the An-148s already in service with the airline.
But United Aircraft argues that VASO has to cope with high production costs. Vice-president Alexander Tulyakov says: "There are large overheads, with heating costs alone weighing in a lot."