Move seen as hinting at deal for new Boeing aircraft

Aeroflot is to acquire six Boeing MD-11 freighters in a move widely viewed as a prelude to a contract with Boeing for the supply of 22 long-haul passenger aircraft.

Deputy director for cargo operations Igor Desyatnichenko says Aeroflot has already made an advance payment on the jets and is putting finishing touches to an agreement scheduled to be signed on 31 March.

The carrier intends to replace its four leased McDonnell Douglas DC-10-40Fs with a batch of MD-11s on its scheduled cargo routes. Delivery is due to take place over the next two years.

The source of the MD-11s is unclear although some reports indicate that Aeroflot will take converted ex-Swissair or ex-Varig aircraft.

Aeroflot is expected shortly to publicise its choice for renewing its long-haul passenger fleet. Some market observers see the MD-11 selection as tipping the balance in favour of the Boeing 787 over the Airbus A350.

Source: Flight International