Putin urges Aeroflot to buy more Russian-made planes

Vladimir Putin wants Russia`s Aeroflot to buy more domestically-built planes.

Updated: Jul 11, 2010, 16:17 PM IST

Moscow: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has demanded that one of Russia`s biggest airlines, Aeroflot, should buy more domestically-built planes.

At a working meeting with Aeroflot director-general Vitaly Savelyev yesterday, Putin instructed the company`s management to draft a relevant project.

"Replenishing your fleet, you should orient towards domestically manufactured planes," Putin said.

According to Savelyev, the company currently has 115 planes, of which six are Russian-made IL-96 aircraft.

"The rest aircraft are of foreign manufacture. We have 11 Boeing 767 planes, 65 Airbus 320 planes, and 10 Airbus 330 long-haul wide-body planes," he noted.

By 2016, the company plans to acquire 22 Boeing 787 planes and 22 Airbus 350 planes, which are currently at the designing stage. Aeroflot also plans to get Russian-built Sukhoi Superjets-100.

"We have a contract for 30 such jets, and have already signed a contract with a leasing company for 10 planes," Savelyev said.

Aeroflot, accounting for 25 percent of the Russian air services market, is set to expand its market presence and ultimately become a monopolist, Aeroflot director-general Vitaly Savelyev said at the working meeting with Putin.

"Our ultimate goal, our strategy is to lead the Russian market and gain dominant positions," he said.

When asked about Aeroflot`s relations with the world`s biggest airlines, Savelyev referred to the example of the so-called "big three" European air carriers - British Airways, Air France, and Lufthansa, which, along with their subsidiary companies, hold up to 50-60 per cent of national markets.

He said Aeroflot was set to catch up with the European air market leaders to be competitive with global airlines when Russia joins the World Trade Organisation.

"It is impossible to become a European leader not becoming a leader at home, in Russia," he said.