Red lace for Ural Airlines' first A320neo
This is the very festive way in which Ural Airlines, one of Russia’s largest independent airlines, received its first Airbus A320neo at its base facilities at Ekaterinburg Koltsovo airport.
Adding to the pomp of the ceremony, the aircraft came wrapped in red lace.
Not that this A320neo was really a gift - pretty sure that Ural Airlines is going to pay for it (through its leasing agreement with Chinese-owned CDB Aviation), but there are good reasons for Airbus to raise the profile of this event.
Ural Airlines is one of the largest Airbus operators in the Russia and CIS region, in fact, until now it had an all-Airbus fleet (with a mix of A319, A320 and A321 aircraft), making a key customer for the European manufacturer.
Boeing has come knocking the door, though, and last year the Ekaterinburg-based airline announced an order for 14 Boeing 737 MAX. These should have started to arrive this year, but, obviously this ain’t happening yet, at least not this year.
In any case, Ural Airlines is not exactly switching sides for now: two more A320neos and two A321LR’s are expected soon at Koltsovo.
And back to this eye-catching red lace, this is isn’t the first time an airliner is gift-wrapped for delivery: here’s how a second-hand Fokker 70 turned up at Australia’s Alliance Airlines (in time to enjoy a warm Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere).
Do you know of other cases of aircraft that have been wrapped as gifts? Send them to me!