Russia’s Aeroflot has selected the Boeing 787 over the Airbus A350 to renew its long-haul fleet and is working towards striking a deal with the US airframer.

Business newspaper Kommersant is reporting Aeroflot and the US manufacturer are already discussing the delivery schedule for a batch of 22 to 28 787s.

“Overall, this option looks preferable to the offer made by Airbus,” says a source at Aeroflot management, which reportedly wants to reach agreement with Boeing as soon as possible in order to begin taking aircraft deliveries in 2010.

Deputy director for strategic development Sergei Kharitonov would not disclose the carrier’s choice but expects a contract with the winning bidder to be signed in March.

“This will be tantamount to our official announcement which we won’t make until then,” he says.

Apart from six Ilyushin Il-96-300s, Aeroflot currently operates nine 767s on long-haul routes. The carrier also operates 18 A320s on short-to-medium haul routes and in October the board of directors approved a plan to beef up medium-range capacity by taking leases on seven A321s.

The Russian Government is understood to have the final say over a type selection by state-controlled Aeroflot.

“Choosing Boeing aircraft for the long-haul segment will preserve a balance in Aeroflot’s foreign-built fleet,” says a senior official at the government’s industry and energy ministry. “Besides, the 787 appears to have a bit of an edge over the rival as a more advanced product.”

EADS’ Russian division chief Vadim Vlasov, however, says the Airbus parent company is firmly standing behind its offer to Aeroflot. “We believe our proposal is no worse than that of Boeing and are prepared to prove it at any level,” he says.

For more on Boeing 787 orders, plus related news and articles, visit our Boeing 787 Dreamliner profile

Source: Flight International