Ural to decide on Airbus or Boeing widebodies by 2015

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Ural Airlines intends to stick to a single-type narrowbody fleet, but is keeping its options open regarding twin-aisle aircraft.

The carrier is to take delivery of three Airbus A319s and two A320s in 2014, says managing director Sergei Skuratov.

It has 30 leased Airbus narrowbodies in active service. These include two A319s, 18 A320s and 10 A321s.

"We're not going to abandon a single-type narrowbody policy," says Skuratov. "It gives us clear cost advantages. Our flightcrews and technical personnel have studied A320-family aircraft perfectly well."

At the same time, Ural is considering restoring its long-haul capability by acquiring widebody airliners. "Our choice here is obviously between Airbus and Boeing types," says Skuratov. "This issue remains open, but it will be resolved by 2015."

Ural provides regular services from its main base at Ekaterinburg Koltsovo to 48 domestic and foreign cities. Over the past year, the carrier has also enhanced operations out of airports in a dozen Russian cities.

Skuratov says its passenger numbers rose 25% and will exceed 4.4 million in 2013, while profits will double year-on-year. He expects traffic growth to rise between 15% and 20% to five million passengers in 2014.