Transaero Airlines, Russia’s second largest airline, has signed a letter of intent with Airbus for 20 A330 aircraft.
Announcing the deal on July 17 at the Farnborough International Airshow 2014, Airbus said Transaero’s letter of intent (LOI) covered eight currrent-generation A330 jets and 12 A330neo widebodies.
Its LOI makes Transaero Airlines the fifth launch customer for the Airbus A330neo family and the first European airline to commit to the re-engined A330.
Airbus has not specified which specific Airbus A330 and A330neo models Transaero’s LOI covers, but the computer graphic images the manufacturer issued to accompany its Transaero announcement suggest the Russian carrier is specifying at least some A330-300s and some A330-900neos.
The Airbus A330-900neo is the updated, re-engined version of the A330-300. It will be able to carry 10 more passengers than the A330-300, thanks to Airbus’ efforts to optimize the A330neo family’s cabins to allows more space for accommodating passengers.
According to Airbus, the new A330s will allow Transaero Airlines to continue its massive fleet modernization program and to boost its medium-haul and long-haul domestic and international network.
“Maintaining the balance between proven technologies and new fuel efficiency and passenger comfort solutions, the A330neo will enable a smooth integration into Transaero’s fleet and represent an attractive investment profile for our financial partners,” says Alexander Krinichanskiy, executive director of Transaero.
Transaero Airlines began operating commercial services in November 1991 and currently operates more than 200 routes worldwide.
Moscow-based Transaero will begin operating its first Airbus aircraft, a new A321, in 2015.
In 2011 the fast-growing Russian carrier signed a contact with the Toulouse-based manufacturer for eight Airbus A320neo-family jets and in 2012 it became the first Russian customer for the Airbus A380, ordering four aircraft. Transaero Airlines’ first A380 will enter into service at the end of 2015.
Transaero Airlines is also one of only three carriers to date to have ordered both the A380 and the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental, having placed an order with Boeing for four 747-8Is. The other two customers for the two jumbo types are Lufthansa and Korean Air.