Airbus and Rolls Royce in pole position to equip Russia's major airlines

It looks like the Airbus A380 had quite a successful first appearance at MAKS, the Moscow Aviation Show, that took place last week. Russia is one of the aviation markets where interesting things are currently happening, not least because of the resurgence of the domestic aircraft industry, lead by its star, the Sukhoi Superjet.

But there are no plans for a competitive very large commercial airplane to be produced in Russia in the foreseeable future at a time when Russians are increasingly traveling abroad, no wonder airlines are looking to upgrade their long-haul, wide-body fleets (it also helps that taxes on >300 seats imported aircraft have been recently abolished).

Whereas Boeing was the manufacturer of choice when Russian carriers first renewed their fleets in the post-Soviet era, Airbus is making important advances into the Russian market. First it was Aeroflot ordering A330s and A350s, now we hear that the Russian flag carrier might be interested in acquiring up to 5 A380s.

This would be great news for Airbus, but also for Rolls-Royce, the possible engine supplier of choice with its Trent-900, the engine that powers the majority of A380s flying today (Rolls-Royce Trent-700 was already selected to power Aeroflot's new A330s), not because of the size of the order "per se", but because of what it represents in terms of visibility and its consolidation in the Russian market.

Transaero is another airline said to be interested in the A380. Russia's second largest airline is adding long-haul capacity at a frantic pace, it is adding Boeing 747-400s with high-density configurations (ex-Japan Airlines aircraft fitted with up to 525 seats) as well as former Singapore Airlines Boeing 777s (by the way, also equipped with Rolls-Royce Trent engines). If it is able to fill all these Jumbos, why not go for the A380, then?