Moscow (AP) — A private shareholder of Aeroflot has signed a deal to reserve 22 of Boeing Co.’s popular 787 Dreamliner planes for the state-controlled carrier, which had failed to confirm its order for them in time, the Interfax news agency reported Tuesday.
National Reserve Corp.’s (NRC) main owner, Alexander Lebedev, told Interfax that his company had signed an agreement on general delivery terms for the aircraft to prevent Aeroflot’s deal with Boeing from unraveling.
“If the contract with Boeing falls apart, Aeroflot will see colossal losses. We don’t want this to happen, therefore we have reserved these planes on terms proposed by Aeroflot,” Lebedev said, according to Interfax.
Lebedev’s National Reserve Corp. controls about 30 percent of Aeroflot stock, which is majority-owned by the state, according to Russian news reports.
Aeroflot’s board of directors failed to confirm the order for 22 jetliners during its meeting last Friday — the day when Boeing’s offer containing privileged terms on the aircraft’s delivery expired.
Russian media said Aeroflot’s inaction had been prompted by the Kremlin’s anger over a U.S. decision last month to introduce sanctions on the main Russian state arms exporter and a top aircraft maker over their dealings with Iran. Reports indicated that Aeroflot might turn to Boeing’s competitor, Airbus.
National Reserve Corp. will pay Boeing some $40 million under the deal, which will remain in effect until the end of the year, Interfax said.
“We hope the issue of Aeroflot acquiring these planes will be resolved by the end of the year,” Interfax quoted Lebedev as saying. “NRC has taken this step exclusively on Aeroflot’s behalf and does not plan to buy the planes itself. This contract is too large for us to acquire it.”
Lebedev also told Interfax that he does not plan to sue the government to force it to decide in Boeing’s favor or pay compensation if the decision is rejected.
“The legal prospects are too doubtful. It’s hard to prove losses that haven’t been received yet,” he was quoted as saying.