Aeroflot aims to be among the first customers for the Boeing 7E7-8, which it is evaluating to succeed the Boeing 777-200ER as its long- range flagship.

The airline is poised to phase out its two 777s when their five-year leases expire, as part of a restructuring of its Western fleet within the Russian government limit of 27 aircraft. This will see the carrier operating nine Boeing 767-300ERs and 18 Airbus A320 family aircraft.

According to Aeroflot fleet planning manager Sergei Koltovich, the 777 has proved too large for its route network. The airline's commercial director Eugeny Bachurin adds: "We believe that we can further increase our 767 fleet, and we plan to be among first customers for the 7E7." The airline had been evaluating the short-range 7E7-3, but is concentrating on the long-range 7E7-8 model.

Boeing is seeking to persuade the Russian government to ease its import-prohibiting tax policy for the 7E7, as the aircraft is being created with considerable Russian participation - engineers at Boeing's Moscow design centre are involved in the development of the airframe, and Russian company VSMPO is to supply titanium elements. Boeing also plans to produce 7E7 airframe parts in Russia.



Source: Flight International