Russians buy Boeing Dreamliners

Stephen Beard Sep 20, 2006


SCOTT JAGOW: The Russians wanna buy a batch of airplanes from Boeing. Looks like a straight commercial deal with the American planemaker, but looks can be, ya know. Stephen Beard has this report.

STEPHEN BEARD: The Russian oligarch Alexander Lebedev has shelled out $40 million for an option to buy 22 Boeing Dreamliners by the end of next year.

Lebedev is acting on behalf of Aeroflot, the state-controlled carrier in which he has a big stake. Last week Aeroflot shelved plans to order Airbus aircraft.

Lebedev’s move is almost certainly political says Michael Binyon of The Times:

MICHAEL BINYON: He’s clearly acting with the backing and support and probably encouragement of the Kremlin in saying, well, Aeroflot needs the planes, they could easily buy Boeings instead.

He says the Kremlin is punishing EADS, the Franco-German defense giant which owns Airbus. Last week EADS upset the Kremlin by rejecting any idea of a closer alliance with the Russians.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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