Airbus sees both Aeroflot and Transaero as potential customers for the A380, as the airframer displays the double-deck type for the first time at the MAKS Moscow air show.

The manufacturer admitted that the Russian market for the aircraft was "albeit very small", but nevertheless it is optimistic that the two airlines might consider the jet.

Transaero has been raising its capacity substantially through the acquisition of Boeing 747 and 777 aircraft, and Airbus's executive vice-president for Europe, Asia and the Pacific, Christopher Buckley, pointed out that some of its 747-400s are fitted with high-density 522-seat layouts.

That figure compares with the typical seating configuration of 525 on the A380.

Buckley also told Flightglobal at the MAKS show that Aeroflot's growth rate also made it a possible A380 candidate.

The airline, already an A350 and Boeing 787 customer, has notably been acquiring larger 777s and is also undergoing consolidation.

Russia has been a relatively weak market, but Airbus is projecting growth of 5.3% in the region, "despite various ups and downs in the business here", he said.

"If you face reality there are five or six lead airlines carrying the bulk of the traffic," he said, adding that another 10 or 15 carriers were operating as "second-tier" companies.

Airbus displayed its A380 at MAKS after being "asked by the organisers for years" to bring the type to the Moscow show.

"We had the right development aircraft sitting in Toulouse," said Buckley. "It's a great showcase, and a great crowd-pleaser."

Source: Flight International