Aeroflot to take 787s as Boeing agrees Russian pact

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Boeing has detailed the co-operation agreements reached with Sukhoi and Russia's United Aircraft (OAK) after acknowledging an initial pact under which flag carrier Aeroflot will acquire Boeing 787s.

Aeroflot's decision to take 22 787s comes on the back of a similarly sized order placed earlier this year with Airbus for the A350 XWB. Boeing has issued only a muted confirmation of the tentative 787 deal, stating simply that it is "very pleased" at the airline's selection and "looks forward to working with Aeroflot to finalise the order", but it has given broader details of the industrial co-operation agreements with Sukhoi, manufacturer of the Superjet 100 (SSJ), and OAK.

Boeing will establish a joint working group with OAK to identify potential research and development opportunities for new technology, including titanium parts, in commercial aircraft structures.

OAK president Alexey Fedorov describes the agreement as "another step forward" in the partnership between Boeing and the Russian aerospace industry, adding: "Our work together over the years has resulted in tangible benefits. We look forward to evolving our partnership and bringing more value to our products."

The deal will give the KnAAPO aircraft production plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur - which manufactures a range of Sukhoi aircraft and is where the SSJ final assembly line is located - the potential to become a qualified supplier of finished titanium components. Boeing and OAK will also examine ways to reduce structural and component weight.

Both companies will jointly study market trends for aircraft in Russia and the former Soviet states as well as other parts of the world, and will look at the prospect for deeper co-operation in the design field.

Boeing and OAK "are seeking to establish a long-term, mutually beneficial, relationship", says Boeing Commercial Airplanes president Scott Carson. "This underscores our long-term commitment to co-operation with Russian industry."

The US airframer was involved in the early stages of the SSJ (then dubbed the Russian Regional Jet), providing marketing, management and engineering guidance and support and through an extended collaboration with Sukhoi, it will increase its advisory presence on the programme.

But the company is also planning to offer further assistance in areas such as flightcrew and maintenance training, after-sales and spare-parts management, and the production of internationally standardised manuals.

"Boeing's expanded support to the Superjet programme - and especially the increased Boeing role in helping Sukhoi to create a world-class after-delivery support system - will significantly increase business attractiveness of the Superjet to our domestic and foreign airline customers," says Sukhoi general director Mikhail Pogosyan.