French company Snecma Services and Russian national carrier Aeroflot signed a ten-year engine maintenance agreement at Le Bourget yesterday for the airline's 18 new Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft, which will enter service from October this year through to December 2004. The contract is worth around €140 million ($165 million) a year to the French company.

Ten sets of engines will be maintained under a ‘power by the hour' agreement, while eight will be looked after on a ‘time and materials' basis – although this may revert to ‘power by the hour' after the first shop visit.

When Aeroflot's current – and massive – fleet restructuring programme is completed by the end of 2004, the airline plans to save more than $90 million per year, due to more efficient ownership and reduced maintenance and operating costs.

The new aircraft will replace Aeroflot's Boeing 737-400 classics, which have already been sold to – and subsequently leased back – from GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS). As each new member of the A320 family is delivered to Aeroflot, it will replace a 737 which will then be returned, in exchange, to GECAS.

Speaking at Le Bourget yesterday, Aeroflot's head of fleet planning, Sergei Koltovich said: "As well as introducing our new A320-family aircraft, we are looking at replacing our A310s and Boeing 767-300ERs within the next five to ten years. We are looking at the Airbus A330-200 and also Boeing's proposed B7E7 Dreamliner."

Source: Flight Daily News